Video games and school? YES
August 18, 2015 6:00 AM   Subscribe

Video games and school? YES
My six year old son needed some extra motivation to practice reading and writing this summer, so we built a video game. Now, we're tracking visits and viewing them on a map to talk about geography. Please delight him by checking it out!

My junior banjo is a first grader obsessed with video games and robots. He's not so obsessed with reading and writing. So, I started a project this summer to help him write a "choose your own adventure" video game and it turned out even better than I first hoped.

He came up with the entire story with little to no input from me. The only part that's mine is the correct action at the very end, my son wanted the characters to do something that I thought would not be appreciated by parents. The wording is mostly his, but I definitely helped/edited. Illustrations are all his. We did talk about html and css as concepts, but I did the work.

We're now tracking visits and talking about what that means as well as learning some geography as we see the visits marked on a map. He would be thrilled if we could get some visits from outside the USA. Sharing encouraged!
Role: editor, art director, implementer
posted by banjonaut (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Ha, this is great!

One playtesting suggestion: have the "Train Station" and "Behind the Tree" buttons on page4a go to distinct (even if mostly similar) landing pages with feedback on those dead-ends, so it's clear that the game is recognizing input vs. unresponsive.
posted by cortex at 6:11 AM on August 18, 2015

This is completely awesome, and you deserve major props for doing this with your son.
posted by lunch at 6:16 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Very nice. I agree with cortex, the 'no-op' buttons threw me off. And more importantly, I think sneaking by one's parents is definitely a valid and reasonable option.
posted by marijn at 12:14 PM on August 18, 2015

Thanks for the input! Yes, those buttons that redirect to the same page are on the list for version 2. The credit for this really has to go to my funny kid. He's a force of nature and I'm along for the ride. The joke's on him though because he actually learned stuff over summer break and doesn't even realize it.

Good/bad news is that the cousins want to write games too.
posted by banjonaut at 12:23 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Relatedly, here is a game I did with my 5 y/o daughter (I programmed, she designed the plot and picked images). Your goal is to bake a pie. Arrows to move, space to activate/pick up, forward/backward buttons, if your keyboard has them, to change character.

I really hope Disney isn't going to find this link.
posted by marijn at 12:52 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

ok, i have to know. do you really do yoga in front of the tv?

can't wait for the director's cut with the real ending. hi from chile.
posted by andrewcooke at 7:51 PM on August 19, 2015

This is wonderful. It reminds me of all the books I stapled together with my father when I was a child. We made (short) choose your own adventure books, monster encyclopaedias, and stories.

Obviously my work was derivative trash, whereas this is good!
posted by CjEggett at 6:14 AM on August 20, 2015

The words "find a place to hide" are tattooed over my heart. This sometimes makes my life rather lifeless...
posted by puddledork at 8:22 AM on August 20, 2015

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You don't take the gum- the story ends, you do yoga with your parents and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the gum - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
posted by Naberius at 11:29 AM on August 20, 2015

Okay, overwhelming hatred from all channels of the poorly handled wrong choices while searching has been duly noted. I've fixed that up with another page, keeping things simple enough that the boy can understand how it's done.

@andrewcooke, no yoga at our house, though the kid has been subjected to a circa-1980s Buns of Steel video. We don't know where the yoga idea came from. That's typical of lots of the ideas that come from this little guy. I've learned to just go with it. He's got good instincts.
posted by banjonaut at 2:38 AM on August 21, 2015

This is awesome. I no nothing about programming but I want to do something similar with my kid. Plus I want him to be programming-literate. Now I have an idea ... thank you.
posted by songs_about_rainbows at 8:15 AM on August 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

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