Playing 4 Keeps

[p4k] Platformer Design 

We’re getting serious at Playing 4 Keeps now, and that seriousness starts with serious playing of a serious game: Fancy Pants Adventure 2. That’s right, Fancy Pants, an incredible Flash game made by one man. Fancy Pants is a massive scrolling platformer that we could learn a lot from. The main character in the game is a stick figure, and yet through different simple animations the character expresses a strong personality. The game’s graphics are all pretty simple, but the level design is so strong the game is very successful.

After playing the game and discussing its different strengths, we broke into groups to begin developing our own game. We’re making a platformer that takes place in New Orleans, and the challenge is to incorporate historical events from the Katrina disaster into the platformer form. For the rest of Monday and most of Thursday, the different groups created storylines for their games and thought about different goals and challenges. On Thursday everyone shared their creations, and then we discussed the different ideas and how they could be improved. The process of iterative design has begun. There’s a lot left to do, but it’s exciting to be on our way.

[p4k] Military Spending and More Iteration 

Last week at Playing 4 Keeps we continued to explore different aspects of the Hurricane Katrina disaster while also adding more details to our game designs. On Tuesday we used a lesson from the SOUL curriculum. It’s an excellent series of activities that examines US budget priorities, military spending, and how the US decides where to send its military. We started off with a role-playing activity, distributing cards that assigned different identities to the students. Each person was a resident of New Orleans with different income, job status, family relations, etc. They then stood in a line and were read instructions such as “If you make over $60,000/year take a step forward,” and “If you’re a single male, take a step back.” The activity was meant to illustrate how some residents were trapped in New Orleans because of their socio-economic positions, while others had a relatively easy time escaping the storm.

[p4k] Individuals and Transgressions 

Last week was a short one for Playing 4 Keeps. We only met on Thursday because of Regents testing, and we used the day to ease the students back into work mode. For most of the afternoon we watched more of “When the Levees Broke.”

Reading newspaper articles and looking at interactive maps is helpful, but there’s no substitute for simply watching residents tell their stories. Putting faces to the disaster is invaluable because it’s important to always remember this tragedy happened to real people. In a catastrophe, it’s easy to stop thinking about individuals and instead just see “masses of poor people” or “displaced persons.” We think only of the collective experience because it abstracts the suffering and makes it more palatable. As Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” There are thousands of stories in New Orleans, thousands of individuals who faced suffering and tragedy in their own ways, however and I want our game to portray the dignity of every individual, not just lament what happened to a group. “When the Levees Broke” also shows the tragedy as it unfolded and I think those vivid images will play a big role in determining the visual style of our game.

[p4k] Don't believe the hype 

At Playing 4 Keeps, we’re still researching Hurricane Katrina and that research entails both finding the information we never knew, and unlearning the disinformation we thought was true. Katrina’s floodwaters brought a torrent of rumors as people grasped for information in the void left by the government. While there was some excellent journalism during the tragedy, the media also berated the public with deceptive, lurid tales of violence and depravity.

We were told New Orleans was a tearing itself apart and people were more interested in raping and murdering than working together. Those reports could not have been further from the truth. Our game will be focused on teaching people the reality of what happened in New Orleans, both the mistakes that happened at the top and the triumphs that came from the bottom.

Monday we further developed our game documents. The process of making a game allows the development of a variety of skills, and I’m always eager to get our students writing. We spent the first part of the workshop discussing the game designs that were developed last week and thinking about what facts needed to be added to make the game realistic. After discussing what more we needed to know, the class went to the computers.

[p4k/teen] Katrina viewing 

The financial problems regarding the support for the Hurricane Katrina effort are of too little help. Most of the money is sucked up by the govt. to build new and more powerful weapons and such for the war in Iraq. So the military is receiving the effort of the government which is completely unfair towards the victims of New Orleans. One would question that if the majority of the folks in New Orleans are black, is that the reason why the government's effort was extra slow? That question means more to some while less to others. There are many that don't even care about the situation there because it is not them. Also, for Condoleezza Rice, the fact that she was having fun while her peeps were suffering. If that was happening to one's peeps when one is of such high authority in life, how could one not think of those in jeopardy?

[p4k/teen] The Catastropic Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina 

Today in Global Kids, I experienced the suffering of people of the city of New Orleans. Many were hungry and even too weak to move. The effects of the Hurricane were tremendous.

[p4k/teen] Hurricane Katrina 

It surprised me that it took FEMA 5 days to respond, but I'm happy that the local assistance were there to help. A lot of people were highly disappointed.

[4k/teen] Christopher 

Well hello. This is my first time here. My name is Chris and well, I'm not really that experienced here. Well I'm very well studied in game development (Excluding Actually knowing how to work w/ the Tools.) Here at P4K (like you don't know already) we work on making games. Today we talked about the results of Hurricane Katrina and where most (if not all) government funding goes to, [Ahem] (*Weapons of War*). Message me here if you want to find out anything i know about game dev. like languages or software or even the licences (yeah, you need a licence to dev. games).

[p4k/teen] To Live or to die that is the question ? 

I say that the town should be filled with water and there should be sharks swimming through the water. There should be some people that lives and the rest would be eaten by sharks or they would have drown or sacrifice there lives. And the wind should be blowing hard so the water would start to form a wave.

I say that the background should include buildings floating on the water. The background should also include sharks inside the water and and some of the people should be in boats

[p4k/teen] Money 

What I think about this situation is that, the government spends too much money on war material and not enough on Hurricane Katrina. Victims of Hurricane Katrina need all of the help they can get. To me, New Orleans needs a lot of work we need to repair and we also need to work together in order to achieve our goals. The military is spending way to much money.