E-Week, the National Engineers Week, is a time to honor the men and women who create the next big thing, celebrate how they make a difference in the world; E-Week gives an opportunity for engineers to reach out to the next generation and inspire them by showing what engineers get to do. The University of South Carolina participated in E-Week by having children of all ages go around the College of Engineering and look at the different fields and applications of engineering. We, the Carolina Gamers Club, participated by showing off games made by fellow Gamecocks.
Many children came to see us, some even came multiple times, and of course, the parents loved it too. Children could come and play our games, such as Kinect-Controlled Pong, Lost in the Middle Kingdom, Peppermint Story, and much more. At the same time, the parents would ask many questions about game design, our experiences at the University of South Carolina, and ask us how we could get their children involved. One of our members was even making his own game in the room to show kids and parents what it was like to make a game. Seeing the smiling, happy faces of the kids made our day, and may even spark an interest in programming, art, music, or game design.
We didn’t simply inspire kids, we were able to talk to a few parents who loved what we were doing and tell that all of the games came from the University of South Carolina. We had plenty of parents ask about how the video game industry worked, what their kids had to do in school to be able to do these kinds of things in school and what strengths could be applied to game design. Some parents too were gamers and asked us for our recommendations and gave some of their own, some parents would ask about how they could use video games for education, but overall we had many positive reactions from parents.
As a part of E-Week, I remembered why I fell in love with Game Design, because I wanted to be a part of something that I could share my passion for video games and help make one myself. By showing kids that you don’t have to be a professional to make games I believe we have made an impact for them, telling them that anyone who sets their mind to something can do anything, whether it is making art, music, programming the backside of the game, whatever it is it can be done.