Madison Workshop Gives Teens of Color a Taste of Video Game Development

April 6, 2018

From the Capital Times:

Ahmed Saeed, an 8th grader who goes to Cherokee Heights Middle School, spent Tuesday filming a one-on-one fight scene between a Lego man in a bomber jacket wielding a double-bladed sword and Lego Batman.

Saeed filmed his 30-second stop-motion animation at a table strewn with Legos and iPads on the third floor of the Madison Central Library branch. Saeed was there for Coding & Gaming Day, an event that aimed to expose teens to the process of creating video games.

The stop-motion animation station was only one stop along a chain of activities at the event, organized as part of My Brother’s Keeper, a city-backed initiative to provide opportunities for boys of color. Each station was manned by developers and designers from tech nonprofits and video game studios in Madison, including DANENet, Acme Nerd Games, Filament Games and Gear Learning.

The fact that a majority of children and teenagers are playing video games like Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, Call of Duty and Fortnite (a new title that Saeed said is one of the most popular among his peers) is one of the hooks of the event, said Mike Beall.

“Now, they’re getting to see that the games that they’re playing, there was a lot of work that went into that,” said Beall, the director of Gear Learning, an educational game studio based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s not snap your fingers and there’s a video game.”

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