We started the app club again this January, and some new 5th and 6th graders joined. This time they want to build a game app.
We spent the first three meetings (once a week) talking about what game to build. I thought this was a good opportunity to teach the kids how to design a game, and would give me an excuse to learn how to program in one of the game development tools, such as Corona or Unify.
Unfortunately, every game they suggested looked like a thousand other games already in the App Store. One girl wanted to build “Muffin Puppies” – a look-alike game to “Break Kittens”:
There are so many games in the App Store, it just doesn’t make sense to build a game similar to an existing game. Building a quality app takes months, and the only way to make an app popular is for the app to stand out. I told the students we need to come up with something that’s never been done before.
Unfortunately, most students can’t “think out of the box” when it comes to designing a game. They seem to have more creativity in building an app that meets a need they have, or solves a problem they often encounter (i.e. WishToList).
I gave them these criteria for a game app: (1) It must be reasonably unique, (2) it must not require a lot of graphics (so we don’t have to find a graphic artist to work for free), (3) it must use the iPhone or iPad in an unusual manner.
Let’s see if they come up with something.