My previous post highlighted two super awesome games made by kids in Gamestar Mechanic. It’s fairly simple to design games in Gamestar; there is no programming required, and you are prepared by play and fix missions in the Quest to make games that are balanced and fun. That being said, not every type of game can be created in Gamestar and after creating a good number of games, some kids may be inspired to program their own. Making a game from scratch is a process. It involves solid game design, art creation, programming and a lot of planning. Here are a few impressive examples of games made by kids from scratch.
Blatch is a matching game for the iPad ($0.99) created by GRL5, a 15-year-old. This game is simple and deceivingly challenging. The goal is to clear all blocks from the screen by matching blocks of the same color from the bottom row of two columns. When a pair is matched, they will disappear from the screen, and the blocks above them will fall down into the bottom row. There are multiple possibilities for matching the blocks, but only one matching order will clear all blocks from the screen. You can learn more about Blatch and the designer here.
I played this game on easy mode and still barely managed to pass one level. Usually, that would be a turn off for me, but the mechanics of this game are simple and fun, so I really wanted to keep trying. This game is also beautiful aesthetically — there are no scoreboards, timers, or other meta data to distract you from the brightly colored blocks. GRL5 did a great job!
Bubble Ball is a physics puzzle game where you design a course to get the ball to the goal. Robert Nay, a 14-year-old* from Utah created this game for the iPhone which, as of today, has gotten over 9.1 million downloads. Wow! Robert coded this game with Corona SDK, an environment that lets developers create games for Android and iOS platforms. Robert designed the game’s levels with his mom, Kari. More info here.
This game is so basic that there is no sound and graphics are truly bare bones, but the gameplay is fantastic. Levels start out easy and slowly increase in difficulty, and I feel like a total genius every time I beat one! Check out Robert’s studio Nay Games.
Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure
This heartwarming game was created by Cassie (5-years-old!) and her dad. Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure is a short point-and-click adventure game playable for free online. Cassie’s dad did the programming while Cassie designed the game, voiced the characters, and created all the art. When the game was published online, it created a huge amount of buzz on game blogs and Twitter and was a finalist at this year’s IndieCade. Find out about the process of making Ponycorn here and read even more here.
The game is short, sweet, and HILARIOUS. Just goes to show that brilliant games can come from kids who are too small to even write a line of code. I also learned that lemons are evil =)
Know of other games designed by kids? Let me know!