One Student’s Vision of A Video Game

We’ve been working our way into video gaming as a design lesson, slowly, and already, I can tell which students are getting hooked by the possibilities. Yesterday, one boy took me aside at the end of class. He’s one of those who is excited by the possibility that he is doing game design in school, and you can see his brain working overtime, trying to take advantage of the opportunity he now has to create video games with our Gamestar Mechanic site. He is one of the ones that I am diving into video game design for.

Here is our conversation:

“Mr. H, I started working on a new game this weekend.”

“I saw the games you posted. You did a nice job.”

“Not those. Another game. It’s going to be so big that the game will have multiple parts to it.”

“Levels? You mean, the game will have more than one ….”

“No,” he interrupted me, anxious to explain. “I have this whole story idea that involves animals escaping from captivity, and the game follows their journey as they run to freedom. They are going to have all these obstacles. I am going to design it so the story stretches over several games, like books in a series.”

I remembered now that he is reading The Warriors series.

“That sounds interesting.”

He nods. He looks to see if anyone else is listening in, for clearly, this is proprietary information that he doesn’t want to spill out yet.

“I am going to have all of these different challenges in it, and I am thinking of how I can use Gamestar to …” and then he launched into some various strategies, wondering what I thought, and so we chatted a bit about the way forward.

I have been struggling to get this particular student to expand his writing this year, to go deeper into his stories and in his reflections. I don’t think he has seen the “meaning” of our work in the class as something tangibly useful. So, I was all ears as he not only mapped out an interesting narrative (inspired by his reading) but also verbally mapped out the “writing” of the story as a video game. I will be interested to see how his project unfolds.

I should note that this is not a class project. This is not something I am assigning him to do (we will be doing a video game project eventually, but not yet). So, the motivation to create something meaningful for himself and for a larger gaming audience that will play his game is one of those moments that I am going to hang on to as we move forward. It’s a moment of insight that I might have otherwise missed if I ignored gaming as a passion for him, and for all of the other students who did not pull me aside but feel the same way.

Peace (in the game),


  1. It’s so great to make those connections with who students are. It sounds like the gaming has added benefits as you’ve described in the earlier posts. I’m going to share the app with some of the group I’m working with & also the idea of your student. I’m betting they will be intrigued. Thanks for sharing the conversation too!

  2. Kevin! I’m glad to be reading your slice today. Thanks for taking the time to document it and share it. You inspire me to be a better teacher of writers. Wow! Good work, friend, good work.

  3. There are important connections to the writing process that are not necessarily writing. The planning and design aspects are crucial, and hopefully he will grow from there. Writing may always be “different” for him, and it’s okay.

  4. Kevin,

    Thank you for sharing the inspiring story. Yesterday, a team of teachers, parents, and administrators were reviewing and eventually rewriting the district grading policy. We got stuck on how to measure mastery. Your post reaffirms the idea that mastery of an objective can be completed in multiple ways.

  5. I love all of the digital literacy possibilities you offer your students. I am always in awe of the things you do for your kids.

    Great to have you back slicing today!

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