We’ve been battling the “I want to play computer games all day!” syndrome at our house for quite a while. Our two boys, now 7 and 10, are pretty obsessed with the free on-line games available. Last summer I decided it was time for, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” when I discovered Digital Arts Camp. I enrolled my boys in the Game Making class and an amazing thing happened – they are now creating the games they want to play! They now understand the logic and the narratives of the games they play on-line too. It has encouraged them to not be just passive players but active creators! They learned about all the pieces – whether it was on-line music they imported, artwork they created, manipulated or animated and how the flow of a game works. For us, it has been the best of all possible worlds – my husband is an illustrator and musician; I have a degree in computer science and worked in the high tech industry for years. Now our boys are combining all those pieces into games they create for themselves and others. They enjoy conceptualizing a game’s themes, images and even humor. Whether the game becomes a reality or not, the process is a new and creative one for them. In the time they could spend just playing a game, they can now have a final product that is their own and that they can be proud of.
Game making has become a creative alternative to the traditional school project for us too. For example, both boys recently had to do book reports with the usual academic options – diorama, book cover, mobile, etc. Instead, they both created computer games based on their respective books. The teachers and the other children were fascinated and intrigued by the new imaginative solution. Our boys had an amazing time not only demonstrating the games they created but showing the behind the scenes on how they were created. It gave them both such a sense of confidence and pride. This new capability of combining art and technology demonstrates the future of ‘outside the box’ thinking and I’m glad our boys have embraced it at a young age. Digital Arts Camp was a great fortune for us and we look forward to our boys taking many more classes with Digital Arts Camp in years to come.