Amazing. Inspiring. Fun. Educational. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
That’s how Game Changers Kids Competition winners described their experience at Electronic Arts Inc.’s (NASDAQ: ERTS) headquarters in Redwood City, California. On May 24, 2011, the winners, along with their parents, “experienced” their prize: a day touring the Redwood City campus of Electronic Arts (EA), a global leader in digital interactive entertainment and one of the corporate sponsors of the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning (DML) Competition.
The Game Changers Kids Competition challenged youth to design an innovative adventure for Spore™, one of EA’s most popular video games. Spore follows the development of a species from a single-celled organism to a fully evolved culture capable of intergalactic travel. Winners ranged in age from eight to sixteen.
The day at EA included a visit to the company store and a session with Spore lead designer, Stone Librande, who recounted how he became a designer and revealed some key lessons in game development. Sharing illustrations from his own youthful start in board game design, Librande laid out in illustrative detail steps in the video game storyboard writing process.
Several of the winners described Librande’s presentation as the highlight of the visit, and were excited to see that his creative process mirrored their own in some ways. Haley Hanson, who partnered with her brother Jack on one of winning levels in the competition, quipped that her career goal had changed from marine biologist to video game designer.
Inspired by their day at EA, winners Sam Barch, Davey Barron, Philip Greene, Jack Hanson, and Henry Williams gathered together at the hotel to begin applying and testing out Librande’s process. Sitting at a computer, they started to develop a new adventure, SSMT (Space Ship Mall Thing), which involves
obese cat zombies in a large spaceship in an environment similar to that of a shopping mall. They continue to work on the project, and, upon completion, plan to publish the level on Sporepedia™, EA’s Spore community game site. They will create a thread on the Spore forum, advertise it on the adventure
corner, encourage their friends to play it, and hope that their adventure will become popular. For more information, please visit http://forum.spore.com/jforum/posts/list/72682.page#3334778
“This was a terrific experience for everyone involved,” said David Theo Goldberg, director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the lead organization administering the DML competition each year. “
Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by HASTAC, the virtual network of learning institutions (www.hastac.org), the Game Changers Kids Competition was part of the third annual $2 million Digital Media and Learning Competition, dedicated to “Reimagining Learning.” The Competition promotes “participatory” learning, the idea that individuals, specifically young ones, learn best through sharing and involvement. Plans for the next Competition are currently underway. Full information about the Competition can be found at www.dmlcompetition.net.
About the Spore winners of the Game Changers Kids Competition:
Samuel Barch, USA
Team: Team Doomsday (Gengar114)
Davey Barron, USA
A World Devoid
Team: doozercrew (doozerdude)
Brock Carter, Canada, Jared Carter, Canada, Hunter Carter, Canada
Saving Private Roto (Spore)
Team: Team Nurv (Brock)
Caleb Craig, USA, Sara Maddox, USA
Team: Team Areon (CoolCaleb7800, elizabeth705)
Philip Greene, United Kingdom
The Tomb of Khafra
Team: Evolution (Conquest1600)
Robert Groome, USA, William Dulany, USA
Island of Illusions
Team: Malacinator (Malackasurus, Geckonator97)
Jack Hanson, USA, Haley Hanson, USA
LIVE or DIE
Team: Thor_In_The_Sky (pelicanthor, bunny_in_the_sky)
Khloe Ilsley, USA
The Ghost Ship
Team: Dreamweaver (Khloe14)
Aidan Robak, USA, Joah Robak, USA
Aronzo and the Treasure
Team: TheGreatOcean (Arsonfire)
Demetri Sofides, USA
The Lantern Bearer
Team: Team Fezonn (Fezonn)
Aaron Thomson, USA, Cecily Thomson, USA
Team: Star Master (Aaron Thomson)
Henry Williams, USA
Team: Droid (Inferno7, Jaconan)
The University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) is a multicampus research unit of the UC Office
of the President, serving all ten campuses in the UC system. Stressing interdisciplinary and collaborative research,
UCHRI bridges gaps between disciplines across the humanities and human sciences and seeks to overcome the
intellectual and institutional barriers that can separate the humanities from other fields. David Theo Goldberg, Ph.D.,
is the Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and together with Cathy Davidson of
Duke University, founded the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC).
A consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, social scientists and engineers from universities and other civic
institutions across the U.S. and internationally, the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced
Collaboratory (HASTAC) is committed to new forms of collaboration for thinking, teaching, and research across
communities and disciplines fostered by creative uses of technology. More information is at www.hastac.org.
About the MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just,
verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human
rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is
affecting children and society. More information is at www.macfound.org.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game
franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected
consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 100 million registered players and
operates in 75 countries. In fiscal 2011, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood
City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™,
Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available
Spore, Sporepedia, The Sims and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Mass Effect is a trademark
of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. John Madden, NFL and FIFA are the property of their respective
owners and used with permission. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.