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The Active Video Game Hack Day is nothing short of inspiring

Author: Lyon Abido

I’m Lyon Abido, a student in John B. Connally Highschool and a student in my school’s Video Game Design program. Mr. Conover, the instructor of our Video Game Design program, introduced me to the Active Video Game Hack Day event in Dell’s Children’s Hospital.

I came to Dell’s Children’s Hospital to collaborate with several other student volunteers to create and present various games that we made in Scratch and integrated to MaKey-MaKey, with the intent of adding physical engagement. The event was tackling the issue of childhood obesity and how might we solve that issue. 

I would like to briefly explain the two main components of what we used, Scratch and MaKey-MaKey. Scratch is a free-to-download program that allows for the creation of video games and animations through a “drag-and-drop” programming feature.  It is highly accessible and incredibly user-friendly. It allows for what would take a great deal of time, experience, and education in the workings of design, programming, and a plethora of other fields of study to create video games and animations, a simplistic alternative.  

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MaKey-MaKey is an inexpensive piece of technology that allows for the transfer of electricity through conductive objects (no matter how wacky they may be) to replace a keyboard, controller, and other devices that would render someone sedative. Cords connected to a circuit board transfer the electricity from conductive objects to a computer or other device. Essentially, with MaKey-MaKey stairs become pianos, buckets of water can become the controls for a DDR game, and common, every-day, household items (such as play dough, bananas, guitars, tin foil, cardboard boxes, and watermelons) can be used as the controls for a video game.  

On Friday morning, after the introductions were made to explain what all these games meant and how they worked, the group of people went off to see and play our games. Members of each group presented and showed what their games did and how to control them. Kids, teenagers, and even adults, enjoyed our games, and were asking many questions about them. The Active Video Game Hack Day event was nothing short of inspiring and amazing to see, experience and be a part of. I feel a great deal of satisfaction for working with all of these students and seeing what they did and how they were able to pull of some of their ideas. If I could participate in this event again, I would gladly do so.