I’m constantly impressed by how creative Gamestar Mechanic designers can be. This week the Gamestar staff ran across two superb games in Game Alley. Both of these designers took on the challenge of making a turn-based game using the Gamestar platform. Now, Gamestar can be used to create games in a wide variety of genres including action, adventure, and platformer games, but all these genres are played in real-time. This means, if you take on an enemy, you and the enemy are battling at the same time. Many popular games (think Pokemon) use turn based mechanics where you can do battle turn by turn.
These two designers took the real-time constraint in Gamestar and turned it on it’s head. In these games you can battle bosses in a turned-based way, every turn choosing what kind of action or item you want to take. These games use keys and locks to represent the enemies hit points (health) in a surprising and innovative manner. Truly one of the best parts of working on Gamestar is seeing the brilliant ideas that come out of young designers. Enjoy!
A Turn-Based Game by Omni_builder
Turn-based Combat Example by jec41
One of the most rewarding parts of working on games and educational tools is when people make thoughtful observations about their experiences using the tool. Much of what I learn about Gamestar comes from the Gamestar community opening my eyes to various experiences and takeaways – often ones that I didn’t expect!
Here are two recent blog posts about Gamestar Mechanic. The first is from Meagan Bromley, an instructor on Gamestar’s Online Learning Program. In this post, Meagan reflects on her experience as an online instructor and emphasizes how very awesome her students are. She describes the diversity of her students’ goals and backgrounds, from experienced game designers to novice experimenters. One of her students is even writing his own blog on his experience in the program! It’s great to hear about how this platform can support this wide array of interests and aspirations.
This next blog post from Michelle Cook, a teacher librarian, describes a series of “epiphanies” that she had while teaching with Gamestar and the realizations that her students made while learning with Gamestar. My personal favorite teacher epiphany is all about validating your students’ interests. Cook writes:
“It is our role as educators of the 21st Century to meet these students where they are at, employ skills and techniques that they are familiar with to gain their trust and attention that you’re on their side and have their best interests at heart.”
This point is so important when using games in the classroom. Yes, games and game design can do many wonderful things like teach systems thinking and collaboration, but they are even more powerful teaching tools because they come from our kids’ natural passion. Whether or not we use games as educational resources, kids will play them in their spare time. Cook, and many other teachers, have realized that by connecting learning to what kids really like to do outside of school, we are providing students with interest-driven pathways and letting them know that we really do value and care about their passions.