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Mobile Quest is a week-long game design camp where 5th graders created games using smartphones. During Mobile Quest students stepped into the role of game designers: playing, analyzing and creating games for their peers to play. Campers worked with professional game designers to experience first-hand how to turn great ideas into great games using smart phones.

I was a mentor and a game designer for Mobile Quest camp. As mentor, I had the opportunity to work closely with Institute of Play staff.  I was an active participant in the development of the curriculum for the camp and designing the mobile games for the campers to play.

We designed three games as an introduction to the three types of mobile technology we wanted them to explore: GPS, Bluetooth, and QR Codes (sema code).
Each day of the week was focused around a game mechanic and a mobile technology.

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Day 1 – GPS

Campers played Mega Scrabble a mapping game that require part of the team to be on the street sending photos and while the other half stay at headquarters to receive the information and create words. We then critique the game and determine what worked, did not work and did not work. The students then worked on redesign of the game.

Day 2 – QR Codes

Campers play Silent Semacodes. Each team has one smart phone and there is a maze of random QR codes posted on the wall. The teams use their phones to decipher the code and reveal a keyword. The first team to get to the winning keyword wins the game. We then critique the game and discuss other codes and ciphers. Students experiment with creating games based around codes.

Day 3 – Blue Tooth

Campers play Blue Samurai. Each member of a team battles the person opposite them on the opposing team by a Rock-Paper-Scissors match. The team with most winners out of 3 rounds wins. The losing team must send their avatar to the winning team’s phone. We then discuss trading mechanics in games and impact of technology on game play. Using the knowledge they have learned they begin creating their own games for Games Festival.

Day 4 – Found Objects

Campers make games from found objects and continue to work on their ideas for a game for the game festival.

Day 5  – Game Festival

Students finish up their games in the morning and in afternoon present their games and everyone plays other groups games.


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Roles: Mentor, Game Designer | 2009 , 2010