When my eleven year old came downstairs and asked if I wanted to check out the video game he made, I was skeptical but intrigued. I went upstairs and played his game called “Dragon Flier 3”. I will admit that, as a first try, it was not the most compelling game. However, I was still completely floored that I could control a flying dragon, summon fireballs that I could also control, gobble a power-up, and fight a boss at the end. I was most impressed by the fact that he figured it all out on his own by following the online tutorials. He was downright giddy as he overflowed with feelings of empowerment and accomplishment, which reminded me why I became a programmer. Ladies and gentlemen, behold: there be dragons! (FYI - You need the Flash Plugin, Scratch’s only downside.)
His younger brother, age nine, is also now making games. They even got me to make a game. I decided to capitalize on their intrinsic motivation and made an educational game that allows the nine-year-old to study his multiplication tables without me having to hold the flash cards for him:
And of course, they have already “remixed” it to include laser beams that shoot out of the alien’s eyes and explode the player’s remaining lives on every incorrect answer. If it gets them to both learn to code and learn their multiplication tables, I’ll take it.