Written by: Bill Sherman on Wednesday, 5 June 2013, 11:05 AM
This month, I’m backing a clever project called Pixel Press on Kickstarter. It’s designed so that anyone can draw their own video game, no coding required.
Essentially, all it requires is a piece of graph paper, a pencil, a camera, and an Internet connection. Robin Rath, Pixel Press’ designer and founder of Roundthird), has an idea which transforms about how you think video games are made and experienced.
Kids love to draw, and they love to play.
Serious Games Rate Serious Attention
Pixel Press has earned some serious attention from the national gaming and tech blogs: such as Kotaku, Mashable, Joystiq. They’ve also gotten coverage from Fast Company, CNET, and Forbes.
When the child learns a few simple drawing rules, they can draw out a video game level in Pixel Press. Afterwards, they can play it (or share it with their friends).
Yesterday, I wrote about how a hospital created superhero serum for its pediatric cancer patients, reframing their experience. Pixel Press offers a way to reframe a child’s experience with video games. It allows children to take those first steps from “playing games” to “designing games.” It’s got the potential to be a fantastic educational tool for children.
Learn While You Play
Perhaps the game will inspire a few more children to learn an actual programming language, and if so, that’s a very good thing. However, Pixel Press can also teach valuable skills to children who don’t grow up to be game-designers or computer programmers. During the process of creating a video game, the child learns a lot about the design and testing process.
- Plan out an game experience
- Think logically about structure, process, and flow
- Test their creations
- Revise the design if it is “too hard” or “too easy” — just pick up an eraser and redraw!
It invites children to ask “how does this work?” and “how can I make my design better?” Those are powerful questions common in business today, asked by Six Sigma / Lean Black Belts, engineers, managers, designers, and leaders. And when a child can learn to ask and answer those questions about a game, those skills can be nurtured to explore other parts of life.
When you look at the level-design notation within Pixel Press, it’s not a huge leap from these designs to formal process maps, Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), and flowcharts. The skills that a child learns when drawing in Pixel Press can make meaningful connections later in life.
More on Kickstarter
If you’re interested in smart projects that change your assumptions about the world, I encourage you to take a look at Pixel Press’ Kickstarter page. They have already raised over $90,000 of their $100,000 goal (1,800 backers), and they have 8 days left to go in their campaign.