Saturday, October 23, 2010

Video Games and Scratch: Day 2

Hi, Paul here again :)

Today began with a quick review of the concepts discussed on the first day, with students talking once again about game mechanics and dynamics. Terrence was right up front, quickly explaining what dynamics were.

Next, we talked about the games they played last time, and what was fun and what wasn't. Jasmine had played Rock Band, and had a lot more fun than she had initially expected, rockin' out to the music with the best of them!

It was great to see high school students critically thinking about video game play and why video games involve so much thought from the developers, and so many different intelligences from the players.

The review complete, the first exercise was to find a game review online and read it closely, paying attention to how the reviewers talked about the game and how it fit in with the topics we had discussed. Each student took notes on the review and then stood before the class in turn, presenting their review and talking about what they liked and what confused them. Some good points were raised, including the role of the ESRB and how it fits into the gaming industry.

Finally, the students downloaded Scratch, a free open source software developed by students at MIT to teach about programming, onto their computers and checked out the games available at MIT's website. RocketMan was very popular, and they were able to download it and take a look at how it is set up in Scratch. Hopefully, it'll give them some insight into making games with Scratch, which they'll be doing next session!

~written on 9/25/2010

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