Thursday, December 4, 2014

Monument Valley gets new levels" The best iPad game ever jsut got better!

Thanks to the people at UsTwo Games, there are new levels in Monument Valley that add colorful and interesting challenges. There is even a bonus level: Ida's Dream.

One final chapter to fight AIDS.
Available now through December 7.

I appreciate the "inside insights" into the game design and level design processes described on the Monument Valley Development Blog Here:

Saturday, May 31, 2014

NY Times: How to Get Girls Into Coding MAY 31, 2014

"Nitasha Tiku gets it right: games are the gateway to motivating girls (and boys too!) to get into the world of coding, game design, start-up culture, DIY, steAm (adding the Arts to STEM) and the maker movement in general.

I have been fortunate to have been beta-testing a  "new platform called Beta" ( mentioned in this article) with very interesting results: my 9th grade students at Dwight School have responded with a rare enthusiasm. The students worked over the weekends and over vacations purely through the self-motivation and a 'need-to-know' driven by the joy of learning.

Errol King, the co-founder and creative director of Hidden Level Games (which created Beta the game) and I were talking about what makes this platform (and game design in general) so potent as a motivator for kids: "god-mode" is the answer.

Girls like to build worlds and games that allow them to build things (Minecraft, the Sims) appeal to girls and tap into their natural abilities in ways that the straight-forward computer science curriculum can't touch."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Flat Vs. Not: Join the Debate

Read the story here than post your comments 

Rules, Space, Goals, Components, Core Mechanics, Challenge are defined here as "Six Game Design Elements"...  Choice can be considered as an additional element. In addition, Balance is a concept of Game Design that is essential.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Can't Wait for Kandu!

Kandu lets anyone make great games and apps without knowing how to code.
Kandu asks:

What Will You Make?

See the Kandu Pre-release Promohere:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pattern Recognition compared to

Pattern Recognition theory of mind p. 65 How to Create a Mind caption

I can't help but see the connections between an illustration from  Ray Kurswell's How to Create a Mind and a tutorial illustration from the game design engine.

Since I am currently reading one and designing in the other, the similarities jumped right off the page (actually iPad screen) while I was reading on the subway this morning.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

High School students take part in closed Beta testing of Carbon Cutters

Students in my 9th and 10th grade Digital Media classes at Dwight School in NYC are currently in a closed-Beta test for an iOS game in development called Carbon Cutters. The game is being designed by Russell Savage from Dented Pixel (a NYC game developer with two Apps currently online). 
Russell came to Dwight on Monday, 2/3/14 to introduce the game and to watch the students play.  "Carbon Cutters" is intended to link gameplay with carbon credits via partnerships with advertisers and engineering firms.

Students are required to fill out a Google Feedback Form designed to further the development of this innovative game.
Read more about Carbon Cutters and Dented Pixel here:

See the related Dwight School Facebook post here:

Read about other Beta testing of games at Dwight here:
New York Observer: Can Video Game Classes Get kids Into College?
Published on 1/31/2014


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beta the Game Launch:

“Beta is a game that teaches game design, computer programming, and analytical thinking”

I've been super excited about the recent release (last week) of Beta the Game. My high school students participated in a closed-beta testing of Beta the game, an experience that proved valuable and rewarding in many ways.

As a game design teacher, I've been so fortunate to have been able to gain access to this user-friendly yet powerful and challenging game design platform during the late stage of the development cycle. All of my students will now be using the final version to develop their own games.

See more images from the Dwight School Facebook post:

Read about other Beta testing of games at Dwight here:
New York Observer: Can Video Game Classes Get kids Into College?
Published on 1/31/2014


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beta-testing: Beta the Game

Beta the Game
Errol King, founder and lead developer from Hidden Level Games (a New York City-based company) has introduced this innovative game design platform to my Digital Media students last November. Since then, the students have been learning, testing, iterating and reflecting on their experiences. Feedback by the students to the game dev team happened in face-to-face workshops, shared Google Docs and emails.

Beta is designed to support self-driven learning. Through their relationship with Beta, students will engage STEM and CompSci concepts in a fun way. While Beta can be played alone, it is best experienced in a community!”
The game art and character design of Beta the Game are simple, direct and very compelling.

Read about other Beta testing of games at Dwight here:
New York Observer: Can Video Game Classes Get kids Into College?
Published on 1/31/2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Museum of the Moving Image: 25 Must-Play Video Games

Indie Essentials: 25 Must-Play Video Games

December 14, 2013–March 2, 2014

IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games and Museum of the Moving Image present a playable exhibition of more than two dozen games that represent the breadth and depth of the “indie” video game scene. The designers and developers of these games, individuals or small teams independent of large studios and publishers, take daring creative risks to explore new forms and methods of play. The exhibition features recent cutting-edge titles, including the IndieCade 2013 award winners, alongside a selection of games that have had great impact on game design and culture in the last decade. Independent games are a fountain of innovation and experimentation, pushing games forward as one of today’s most dynamic and important cultural forms. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blek: "The world's hardest game!"

While I agree with Mike Fahey (on Kotaku) that Blek is the "most brilliant ipad game," I found that there are a lot of similarities with "The World's Hardest Game" (a maddeningly difficult twitch-fest made popular on Addicting Games).

With it's minimalist aesthetic, straightforward mechanic and dozens of levels of increasing difficulty, I see many parallels to the World's Hardest Game.
As the Intro. screen declares:

"This is the World's Hardest Game. I guarantee it is the hardest game you have ever played, or ever will play."

Move over, World's Hardest Game ... make room for Blek!

Read the review of the game by Mike Fahey here:

Exciting New (Beta) Game Design Platform: Flowlab

 Make Games with Flowlab!

I am in the middle of testing a very promising new iPhone Game Development platform called Flowlab.

My current 10th grade students have been experimenting with the free version for about 3 weeks and we are poised to dig deeper next week when we return to work.

The interface of the game engine is a visual delight and it makes the interactions and programming transparent.

Thanks to the folks at Flowlab for making a totally user friendly yet very robust platform.

I am most impressed with the potential of Flowlab.