Believe it or not, your child's love of video games might not be a waste of time - not if they start developing the skills to become video game designers themselves! The video game industry is absolutely booming, becoming larger every year, and is already challenging the other major media types - such as movies and music - in terms of overall market size.
Simply put, there's every reason to think that video games and other forms of interactive entertainment are going to be the dominant popular art of the 21st Century.
There are plenty of products available aimed at teaching video game programming for kids, as well as other game design concepts. Better yet, many of them are also video games themselves! You could encourage your child to become a designer, without them even realizing it.
Listed below are some interesting tools to help you get started in thinking about video game programming;
Learning Video Game Programming for Kids from Video Games
1 - Minecraft (It's on everything.)
Statistically speaking, your child probably already plays Minecraft. But did you (or they) know there's a world of tools designed to "mod" Minecraft, to the point of effectively reprogramming the game itself? LearnToMod.com is a great resource, but at rp4k we decompile the source code and mod it directly for learning how to go beyond the basic Minecraft "creative mode" and turn it into a true programming teaching tool.
2 - Super Mario Maker (WiiU, 3DS, probably Switch soon)
What kid doesn't love Mario? Nintendo's excellent Super Mario Maker series provides a toolset for creating full Mario game levels and is surprisingly deep considering that the interface allows even small children to have fun building levels. It also includes a very comprehensive introduction to the basics of player-focused game design. i.e., how to make a game fun.
3 - Nintendo Labo (Switch)
Sticking with Nintendo, many have overlooked their revolutionary 2018 toy/tool called Labo. At first glance, it seems like a gimmick - you build toys out of cardboard which interact with games. However, Labo includes a complete programming suite. The huge range of homebrew toys and devices your child could make with Labo is actually quite surprising!
4 - Gamestar Mechanic (online)
Gamestar Mechanic is a great kid-safe online community, game, and programming resource all rolled into one. It actually turns learning video game development into a game and has a huge user base. Highly recommended!
Real Programming 4 Kids Is Here
if you’re interested in taking programming further and making games from scratch, you can learn to use Real Programming languages leveraged in the industry today, at one of our Real Programming 4 Kids courses. Spaces are filling up! Contact us for the details.