Many parents may have strong opinions and misconceptions about video games. However, many educational video games on the market serve to support and supplement a child’s academic goals.
If your kids show interest or passion for video games – how they work, how they’re created, and the artistry behind storytelling – they may be interested in creating their own.
Did you know that game design is a lucrative profession, with designers earning an average of $90,270 annually? Even if video game design doesn’t become your child’s career path, supporting them through their interests can pay significant dividends.
Game design teaches valuable hard and soft skills that can be carried over in various fields, from information technology and user interface/user experience (UI/UX) to teamwork and leadership.
This article will provide you with practical tips to help your child understand how to make a video game as a kid and the benefits of video game design beyond child’s play.
How Can Kids Benefit from Video Games?
It can be hard to look past video games as a waste of time, but there are many practical skills that kids can learn from video games, including:
- Critical thinking and strategy: Because video games invite players to walk in the shoes of a character from a different culture or time period, they present the opportunity for creative problem solving, critical thinking, and strategy. Every move and decision can impact the success of a task or quest, helping students take a step back and think about their actions and how they may affect the end goal.
- Teamwork and social skills: Despite the misconception that video games can be isolating, most gamers play with real-life friends. While it may be fun to have your friends there, it is also a test of true teamwork. This establishes healthy, positive social development and interaction, leading to higher self-esteem and better communication among peers.
- Memory and visualization: Many games require players to have intense focus and concentration. A study conducted by the University of California, Irvine, discovered cognitive and memory benefits when testing a group of gamers vs. non-gamers in memory tasks. Memory tasks will help your child juggle multiple tasks and enhance their ability to follow and understand directions.
How to Create a Video Game: 4 Practical Tips
Now for the fun part – creating a video game! But where can your child even begin to create a video game, and how long does it take to create one? These are great questions, and while it may seem complicated, starting with the basics will help get them there.
1. Play Video Games & Take Notes
The best way to help your child get started with game design is to play them. Your child is likely already playing video games, which will help them extract inspiration when designing their own game.
What patterns appear in video games? What makes a game compelling and worth playing? Have them evaluate and look at games from the lens of a designer to help them understand what makes a game fun and the elements and mechanics needed to make it enjoyable.
2. Determine a Storyline
There needs to be an overarching storyline even before a game is designed or coded. A compelling and well-written story is the component that separates great designers from others.
Before your child begins the design element of video games, they will need to determine what kind of game they would like to build, what choices players will have, and how much players will influence the story from start to end.
3. Introduce Coding
Video game designers with coding knowledge help when technical challenges arise, which provides immediate value to a programming team during development. Code helps bring digital worlds to life and therefore is a staple of video game design.
The best way to introduce coding is for your child to take a course. There are many courses to choose from, but we recommend your child starts here.
Video game design takes a lot of time and skill and can be challenging. Sometimes an idea may seem great on paper but isn’t the best when translated to actual gameplay. While failures are a natural part of the video game design process, the more practice your child has, the better they will get at seeing their virtual worlds come to life!
If your child decides to take the Super Mario and the World of Video Games course at Ivy Camps USA, they will learn how to design and create their own video game!
Plus, all our courses, including this one, are taught by Ivy League instructors from the best colleges and universities in the country, including MIT, Harvard, Yale, and more!
Summer dates are open for this course, so sign up soon; spots are going quickly.