Here’s another story about kids making games for other kids, but this time with a very specific goal – battling bullies. Students from Fresno and Clovis Unified high schools recently launched Bully Blaster in the iTunes app store. This article describes the gameplay:
“Using their fingertips, players battle bullying by fighting their way through waves of positive and negative words. By destroying the insults and collecting the compliments, gamers compete for their highest score.”
There is also a great video above the article that explains more about the game, the design process, and has quotes from the designers themselves.
For me, what really made this project stand out was the quote from high school student, Michelle Rodriquez, who said that the game allows the player to choose words that they have been called, and defeat them in the game. This mechanic of allowing players to choose their own bully terminology makes the game very personal. It also means that you are blasting the word, the idea and the insult, instead of the person who says the word. It will be interesting to see how this kind of gameplay affects kids, both the bullies and the bullied.
Here’s a short video showing some Bully Blaster gameplay:
If you are interested in kids making games about healthy relationships and social systems within schools, check out this post about our new project Real Robots of Robot High. This link gives you the background of the project and a chance to sign up for the beta!
We are happy to be linking up with Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program (OLP) this year. Global Kids is an awesome organization here in NYC that uses digital media to promote global awareness and youth civic engagement. From their website: “OLP integrates a youth development approach and international and public policy issues into youth media programs that build digital literacy, foster substantive online dialogues, develop resources for educators, and promote civic participation.” Basically, they are pretty fantastic.
So this school year, OLP is running it’s fifth season of high school internship program called Playing 4 Keeps (P4K). This time, among other activities, the P4K kids will design social impact games using Gamestar Mechanic and also learn a bunch about what happens behind the scenes of making games.
P4K keeps a blog detailing what they are working on each week with Gamestar Mechanic and other game design activities. Their most recent post includes reflection from the high schoolers themselves. Some of my favorite quotes from the kids include:
“Playing for Keeps has revolutionized the way I think about gaming as a whole… No longer will a game just be a game, but a transformed piece, an artistic creation, always with a purpose and always with a meaning.”
“Joining this program, I saw how games might have been built/made with various values in mind, and how it is not exactly due to a designer, but the perspective of a player that is what shapes it.”
“It’s fun and educational. IT’S FUNJACATIONAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!”