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Adventure Time Game Wizard is not an app created with educators in mind, but it's still an excellent resource to teach game design. This makes it right at home in afterschool clubs and some STEAM classes, but there are opportunities for general education teachers as well. When students place objects in their game, they do it using a grid system. Teachers could design tasks for students that require arrays of coins to model a multiplication problem. Another possibility would be to have a design requirement with area and perimeter; perhaps there would need to be platforms with differing perimeters and a specific area for a lava pit. Language arts teachers could have their students write a story that mirrors the level that they've designed.
The game is set in the Adventure Time universe, and the language and cartoon violence used in the game reflects that. Students will be exposed to phrases like "what the bloop," "jerk," and "you got your buns kicked." A teacher will need to consider this when using it with some students and may want to seek parent input.Continue reading Show less
Adventure Time Game Wizard is an iOS and Android app set in the universe of Cartoon Network's Adventure Time show. The high production value is quickly apparent with fluid animations and great-sounding audio, including the show's voice actors. There are three main modes: Play, Create, and Arcade. Play brings you through the game's story, switching between five characters from the show. This is classic platformer action akin to Super Mario Brothers; the on-screen character runs and jumps to collect coins and power-ups while avoiding or attacking enemies. Coins collected in Play mode are used to unlock extra enemies, backgrounds, and other items for Create mode.
Create mode is the bread and butter of the experience. Students can place blocks, coins, power-ups, hazards, enemies, and more to design their own levels. The game does an excellent job with an initial tutorial to guide the user through the process. Adventure Time Game Wizard provides a link to special printable sheets that students can draw on to create levels. Students draw on a grid using special symbols (glyphs) that represent the various objects in the game. There's also an option to "scan" these sheets, but it is rarely 100% accurate; these errors can be easily fixed in the game. When students have completed their level, they can share it in Arcade mode. They can play levels from others, as well.
Adventure Time Game Wizard is an excellent choice for teaching game design basics. Students really feel empowered and excited by creating their own game. Those looking for an option that incorporates coding will want to look elsewhere, as that is outside the scope of this game.
The ability to have students design on paper (the specific sheets the developer provides must be used) is a huge plus for teachers for several reasons. The handout is excellent quality and includes several tutorial pages for getting started. The pages that pertain to level design have keys to remind students of each symbol's (or "glyph's") purpose. Having students work on paper makes it easier for the teacher to monitor the activity and provide feedback to students. The process does work best with color copies (a light shade of blue is used), a sharp pencil, and a ruler. The degree of precision that's needed to get a good scan will frustrate some students, but that in itself can be a valuable lesson.
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