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Game design class for 10 years old

Last Friday I was part of my girls’ school activity, where parents talk and do things they work at / with or just like.  I decided to take a chance and give a 45 minutes class about game design. Out of respect I re read Rules of play and a few blogs. The teaching plan came out as easy 45 minutes, fun and interesting. The discussion was aimed for fifth and sixth graders and a last ten minutes were planned for them to draft  some game ideas.

I first asked who play games, who has a console at home. As in Israel, about 50% had a console but everyone plays online. A lot play “facebook” :P

We then talked about a few games they love and what they are about. I mentioned how they are similar to a story, but that players can decide what happens.

We talked about Theme and Genre . A favorite example was “Fruits” (for a theme) and “fighting” (for a genre) for some reason. So we talked about fruits who fight or how to fight invading fruit aliens.

Since game should be fun, we talked about goal and rules and challenges which makes reaching the goal hard but not too hard (boredom vs. frustration). We decided that we need to kill as many invading fruits in 5 minutes and that some of them will be harder to kill than others.

We added background story , pathos and lore to give motivation to the players – a “cause” they would fight for. We then looked at what the players will actually do ( the verbs)  like shoot and run and fly.

It was a lively discussion, all done in 25-30 minutes. I wrote the main words (which I marked with bold fonts) on the white board.
The last 10-15 minutes they all grouped in teams of 2 or 3 and started to write an idea of a game that has all of the above elements.  Many chose sports, GTA style games and girls seemed to like virtual pets.

I recommend trying it with your kids’ class.

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