Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sure we can! Game design for all

Finnish Center for School Clubs (Kerhokeskus) is about to arrange a game design competition for youth (8-21 year olds). In this case games are seen as a way to be creative in digital worlds and a way to boost up media education in new ways. That might be very true but such a competition is still a big challenge -- especially when the age range is so wide. Anyhow, the competition will begin in May 2007. One related topic is Boku introduced by Microsoft a few days back. Boku is "an educational game designed to help children as young as five years old exercise their brains by doing programming. Boku is a cute little cartoon robot head with big, soulful eyes who hovers over a cartoon grassy field" according to InformatioWeek.

Microsoft has created a graphical language to move around the Boku island, play games, and eat brightly colored fruit. Boku runs on Microsoft Windows and the XBox, and is currently being tested internally. That's a somewhat bad news to the game design competition as it would be nice to utilize some cool software to enable kids to design their own games without a broad knowledge of programming languages. But perhaps we'll come up with an alternative. MIT's Logo is somewhat sort-of similar to Boku and GameMaker, 3D Rad and such are already available.

Besides Boku there seem to be a number of other things under way at the Microsoft Research.

Oh, and by the way... I had a change to test Housemarque's new PS3 downloadable game. It'll be out in May'07 and even though I don't usually get excited about such games, it stuck in my mind and I am honestly eagerly waiting for the release of it!

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