The final day of the Highland Park ISD summer game-design class gives precocious young video-game designers a chance to showcase their creation to their classmates.
Then comes the best part for just about any kid under age 13. They get to play.
That combination makes the class one of the most popular in the summer catalog for the HPISD Academy of Lifelong Learning. After all, what video-game aficionado wouldn’t want to combine their favorite classic gaming elements with their own imagination?
“I love video games and I wanted to make my own,” said 6-year-old Dasch Gorcyca. “I knew I would make a good one, which I did.”
The weeklong class teaches coding and programming skills with the goal of producing a PC platform game in the classic Mario Bros. vein, using a library with a variety of bricks, ladders, coins and heroes, along with villains such as ghosts and creatures.
“We start them off easy, and then we introduce coding and make it more difficult,” said course instructor Adrian Sanchez. “Once the games are playable, they start to go on their own.”
The class is one of dozens that HPISD offered for local kids during the summer — mostly in the areas of science, technology and art.
“We try to identify things that students would be interested in doing during the summer,” said Jan Doggett, the Academy for Lifelong Learning program coordinator. “They’re all fun things that they don’t have a chance to do during the school year.”
Sanchez is the owner of 8-Bit Education, a Dallas company that specializes in web design and robotics classes for kids. He said the concepts in the game-design class are simpler than most people think.
“We give them a lot of freedom,” Sanchez said. “To see what they can build and the variety of games you can get, no two of them are the same.”
At the end of the class, Sanchez saves a version of each student’s game on a flash drive for them to take home and show friends or siblings.
For David Jiang, 12, that will mean the opportunity to tempt players with “The Impossible Game” and its tricky bonus level.
“If you don’t know how to do it, then it’s impossible,” he said.
This story appears in the August edition of Park Cities People, on stands now.