In February of 2016 Holyoke Codes, a local group that provides opportunities for kids to be involved in coding, robotics, and technology, collaborated with teens from Holyoke and neighboring cities to create video games that incorporate social issues.
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The Holyoke Codes team invited local teens to design and create games at a series of workshops in collaboration with the Holyoke Youth Task Force and a series for girls with Girls Inc. of Holyoke. The goal of the workshops was to empower teens to create games that address social issues in a positive way, creatively engage with technology, and explore issues important to them, becoming creators of culture, instead of simply consumers.
This program was supported in part by a grant from the Holyoke Local Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
At the workshops, the team discussed how to create games and the game development process. The teens chose issues important to them and formed teams then everyone collaborated on how to turn the ideas into games.
Storyboarding their “choose your own adventure” game on healthy relationships!! #shegotgame #storyboard #gamedesign #strongsmartbold
Teens learned how to be artists, programmers, project managers, and game testers while building our projects with Scratch.
The teams got to experience all the steps in the design process, defining ideas, collecting information, brainstorming ideas, developing solutions, getting feedback, and improving the design.
Teens gained confidence in coding, and practiced organization and communication skills as they worked with others.
Teens picked topics that mattered to them demonstrating creativity, teamwork, and thoughtfulness.
Second Chance teaches game players about healthy choices and nutrition:
The Middle School Graduate deals with making good choices at school while avoiding bad choices.
Players of War? must avoid PTSD while dealing with aggressive dictatorships.
In Opinion Escape! players learn about the importance of self-confidence:
The Climate Invasion deals with trash and animal cruelty while saving the world:
In Choose Your Fate players learn about healthy relationship skills and the importance of good communication.
The Unexpected Savior reverses gender roles and incorporates trash cleanup:
Help make healthy choices in the Mall Game!
Avoid negative thoughts in Emoji High!
To wrap up the series, games were shared with friends, family and community members at an Arcade Party at the Holyoke Public Library.
If your work involves computing intensive research we would love to showcase it at the MGHPCC booth this November.
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