Amanda Wilson talks about IGDA Scotland’s Mini Game Jam:
June 18th 2014 saw the first IGDA Scotland Mini Game Jam, which was held at Smithycroft Secondary School in Glasgow. Over 90 children from four schools came together to work in teams for the event. The children were from Primary 6 through to 2nd years, and came from Royston Primary School, Carntyne Primary School, Cranhill Primary School, and Smithycroft Secondary School.
The aim of the day was to let the children see that they are easily able to be creators of their own games rather than just being able to play them, and to have some fun while doing so. Given that the Commonwealth Games are happening soon, it seemed only appropriate that that should be the theme for the day. Each team consisted of 3 or 4 children, and to make it more interesting the teams consisted of children from different schools. The challenge was to then come up with a game based on the Commonwealth Games within a few hours using the programming language Scratch (whilst also getting to know your teammates too!).
The children quickly got into their stride, and before long the ideas were emerging and heading to the screen. Just watching them working together, and at some points coming up with compromises over colours in the game or who did what, was fantastic. By lunchtime a few teams were even starting to put final touches to their games.
After lunch it was all about tidying up what they had, and making sure things were working properly. To round off the day, the guys from Outplay Entertainment gave a demonstration of some of the games their company makes to the children while the games were being judged, which the children thoroughly enjoyed.
While there were a lot of wonderful games in the end a hard decision had to be made, and the overall winner was Clydes Adventure, which was a game about getting the Commonwealth mascot Clyde through three different levels. It was chosen as the winner because it was very well designed, and also incorporated the theme of the Commonwealth Games. You can play Clydes Adventure online at http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/23796743/.
The runners up were Sports Day Scavenger Hunt, which showed some amazing teamwork as every member of the team was from a different school, so as well as getting to know each other in a short amount of time they also managed to come up with a great idea. Sports Day Scavenger Hunt can also be played online at http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/23796618/
I was also lucky enough to have a few volunteers who came along to help out: Mike Gormley and Luke Brown from Outplay Entertainment, Alice Rendall from Kobojo, and David Farrell from Glasgow Caledonian University, alongside five senior pupils from Smithycroft Seconday School, all of whom were invaluable throughout the day. I’d also like to thank Outplay Entertainment for their sponsorship of the Mini Game Jam, Smithycroft Secondary School for hosting, and of course all the children for coming along and making such brilliant games!