Sunday, April 3, 2011
How to Be A Player
Gee had written a book entitled What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. I must admit at first glance I was not interested in reading this book because I had a biased view of gaming.
My idea was that the games were meaningless. I hated the violence and I was of the opinion that these games had no redeeming value. I was wrong.
Not only did I learn plenty from reading this book, but I also began to view video games and online environments such as Second Life through a different lens. I was introduced to Gee's work in early 2006. Of course, since then video games have exploded and most computer science programs now have a degree for Game Development.
This is significant. Many young adults have become completely immersed in the world of video games. Games such as World of Warcraft, Madden, and Halo commands the attention of millions of young users as well as young adults. African American males are a part of this culture. We are among the leaders of folks who purchase game consoles. We may not have a computer in the home. But we are known for having a gaming console.
This is significant. Recently scholars have pointed to video games as a possible solution to the digital divide. While I do not wholeheartedly support this idea, I do not dismiss it outright. As an advocate of culturally relevant pedagogy, I love the concept of meeting the students where they are.
African American males are engaged with video games. They are playing the games. But they are not, for the most part creating the games. Often times, when I speak to young black males and ask them why they are not developing video games, they respond with "I do not know how to program" or "I do not have an opportunity to earn a college degree".
Enter Game Salad. Game Salad is an Austin-based company which guides folks who do not have software development skills to create and publish online games. The company has raised a little over $6 million from investors such as The Walt Disney Co's venture capital arm. GameSalad allows aspiring and established game developers quickly design, publish and distribute original games for mobile platforms such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac and the web without the need to write a line of code. Their drag-and-drop game creation platform has been utilized to develop near 5000 games. This includes at the time of this writing 30 games that have been ranked in the top 100 of the Apple's U.S. App Store.
Everyone has ideas, but not everyone has the programming skills to turn those ideas into profit. And although I still believe gaining those skills are key, GameSalad certainly offers a wonderful alternative. Now all you need is the idea for a great game and the ability to drag and drop using a mouse. Can you do that? Sure you can.
Let me know when you have published your game? If you have used GameSalad's platform, let me hear from you.