Playing 4 Keeps

[p4k] Gettin our hands dirty 

We had a short week at Playing 4 Keeps, with only one workshop as we came back from the winter break. On Thursday, the whole afternoon was devoted to a more complex version of the role playing exercise we did before the break. Instead of just pretending to be members of a game lab with an imaginary project to develop, the kids were tasked with modifying a game in Scratch.

This was really a perfect use for the software; it’s so easy to use that everyone was able to actually act out his or her role, and in the end we had a unique game. The Scratch team develops and releases games and programs for users to remix, and the one we chose was “Fish Chomp,” a simple game where players control a fish trying to eat smaller fish.

We split the kids into development teams and each one was assigned different responsibilities. The art director, illustrators, and graphic designer worked together to customize the fish graphics, instruction screen, and health and point meters. The audio team found background music and sound effects for the game. Our game and level designers worked on new ways to make the game more challenging, and imagined what further levels would be like. Finally, the programmer implemented the changes. Coding is simple enough in Scratch that within minutes he was able to figure out how the game worked and what could be easily changed.

[p4k] Slate.com counts Ayiti as one of their top picks 

Ayiti: the Cost of Life was spotlighted on Slate.com in an article written by Justin Peters focusing on his top choices of free games to play online. Not only did we make his list, but he had some great things to say.

Best game with a social conscience: No matter how bad things are going, you could always be a subsistence farmer in Haiti. (To our Haitian subsistence-farming readers: God bless.) Ayiti: The Cost Of Life makes the Oregon Trail look like Candy Land. The game puts you in control of the lives of a Haitian family of five. You have four years to guide the family through a catalog of privations and calamities: hurricanes, robbers, depression, illiteracy, and on-the-job injuries. Ideally, you'll find education, prosperity, and health, but you'll probably just come down with malaria and die.

The article was also picked up by Slashdot on their site! They even made special note of Ayiti.

[p4k] Milestones 

In our last week before the new year, Playing 4 Keeps had three major milestones: we chose our issue for the game, the students wrote their first blog entries, and we began experimenting with digital media creation. First, on Monday Barry came out to help resolve a schism in the group: the students were evenly divided between two issues for our game. Half the group wanted to do Hurricane Katrina, and half wanted to focus on the various issues of war and the military that President Eisenhower termed “the military-industrial complex.” While no one knew that term, many students could described its features: excessive spending on increasingly destructive weapons, underfunding social services to fund the military, and starting expensive, devastating, unnecessary wars.

[p4k/Teen] not as expected 

P4K is not what I expected it to be. At 1st i didn't know that it had to deal with global issues but now i understand. For example when we did all the games that we did it was not just fun but also educational as well, and although i didn't know what some issues were I learned eventually. Today was one of the most important days. We had to pick the subject that the game is going to be about which by the way was Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq. Many kids had ideas and me also and I also cant wait till we finish and hope that our game that we will work hard on will be played on X-box live which is all i have to say. Well I really hope that it's a game that people will play very often and also educates people and learned about the problems and try to make our world a safe environment to live in. THE END.

[p4k/Teen] todays lesson was about not to ever drink water near the computer 

my name is leighton cordis and i am in the global kids program

[P4K/Teen] ketnia (to be finished later) 

Katrina is bad because when it go to coutry and no one not when it come then it going to be a big flood some people can died.i think it is good to talk about it.

[P4K/Teen] 

When i first heard of playing 4 keeps i was excited to go because i always wanted to make my own game ever since 6th grade. When i started playing kingdom hearts i always liked the way characters looked like and how the story`1

[p4k/Teen] Ideas 

Basically what I was thinking was that since we were doing a topic of Hurricane Katrina and the War, I thought of a little scenario like this: Hurricane Katrina has hit New Orleans in Louisiana, and there is a big war in Israel because of the bombing in Lebanon (which the Americans got themselves involved in giving weapons to them and bombs to Israel). Little did America know that there were hidden files in Louisiana that got washed up along with the Hurricane. That's all I wrote for now but there will be optional info on my idea if people and my group decide to go along with it.

[p4k/Teen] Game software 

I know we're going to be doing a long term project so one thing I just want to get across to my fellow teammates as well as Global Kids as to what program we are going to be using to create the game, whether it is: Flash, C++, or C#?

[p4k/Teen] Today's Festivities 

I must admit that i wasn't paying attention to most of the discussions and peace talks that took place due to my unfortunate and constant lack of sleep, as well as the thought of $10 disappearing from my wallet as of 5th period this afternoon... (sometimes, it sucks to be me). Moving forward, we did an original activity planned by Global Kids in which the participants were asked/instructed to grab the hands of the person that was two people away...or somewhat. After the enjoyment and delight of being tangled up within human arms and human sweat, we were then instructed to figure out ways in which we must "untangle" ourselves to form a perfect or "disconfigured" circle. Sounds fun, doesn't it? (Laughing sarcastically).