Kids Know Things: Highlights from August's Prototype and Play Workshop

When I was in the first grade I wrote my first book. It was brief and, truth be told, very bad. The teacher laminated it, punched holes in it, and bound it with yarn. It was called The Cat and the Canoe. I bring this up because the youngest attendee at August’s Prototype and Play workshop was an elementary school student. She didn’t bring a game to exhibit, but when we sat down to talk she laid out her meticulous plans for a game that she is planning to make. It’s simple, she explained. Kids can go to their favorite YouTube video. They can watch it or they can play it.

“Oh,” I said. “Like, they can do whatever they want?” Yes, she said. Everything was so exact. The button to watch the video would be over here. The button to play the video would be over there. Teachers would be able to use this game to make boring subjects interesting for their students. The Cat and the Canoe indeed.

The games exhibited at the Central Ohio Gamedev Group workshop included both tabletop and digital titles. Attendees ranged from full-time game developers to university students to, well, an incredibly imaginative elementary schooler. There were folks getting ready to exhibit a game at GDEX 2017 alongside folks trying to figure out how to get kids interested in learning the order of the U.S. Presidents. (Hint: The answer might just be games. Who would have thought?) All in all it was a wild ride.

A little while into the event I saw that the elementary school student was getting ready to leave. I stopped to tell her to keep working on that idea, because I’d sure as heck like to play a game like that someday. She nodded. She wasn’t designing her own games yet, but she was helping out with somebody else’s. They needed a perspective like hers. After all, “kids know things.”

COGG’s September meetup will take place this Saturday, September 2nd, at 1:00 pm. The next Prototype and Play workshop is set for September 8th at 6:00 pm. Both will take place at the office of Multivarious (The Idea Foundry).

I look forward to seeing you there.

- Lindsay