What Left 4 Dead Can Teach Us About Kids Games
When creating games for children game designers often work in a vacuum. As adults, we are far removed from the developing cognitive and motor skills that are a hallmark of a growing child. Meanwhile, game dev resources tend to gloss over information on developing games for kids, often implying that the younger the child, the bigger the buttons and the shorter the words. Children, especially those under twelve, have a unique set of cognitive and physical challenges that developers must understand in order to make truly engaging games for children.In this session, we’ll cover game ideas that are developmentally appropriate for children. But this isn’t an average list of game mechanics. We’ll challenge designers to delve into their own grown-up media library to find new inspiration for all their design projects. By the time it’s all said and done, attendees will have ideas on how Left 4 Dead, FourSquare, Plants vs Zombies, and even Words with Friends can inspire great kids games.
Anne is a writer, producer, and game designer with over a decade of experience developing and producing children’s properties in all media. She specializes in educational children’s content, combining rigorous integrated curricula with great entertainment value. Prior to joining No Crusts Interactive as a game designer and writer, she was the Director of Development for Wainscott Studios (headed by multiple Emmy award-winner Mitchell Kriegman), where she developed many high-profile preschool series, including Bear in the Big Blue House and The Book of Pooh for Disney Channel and It’s a Big Big World for PBS KIDS. She has also worked extensively as a creative and production consultant for companies including Discovery Kids, MGM, BBC, The Kids Block, Classic Media, and many others.
Anne now brings her work in film and television to bear on interactive projects, ensuring that story and character are married to educational content and usability to create both the most accessible and the most entertaining games possible.
Carla Engelbrecht Fisher is a game designer with a research obsession and the founder of No Crusts Interactive. Having spent more than a decade making children’s digital goods, she’s designed, produced, researched, and consulted on a wide variety of commercial and educational products, from Web to mobile to gaming consoles. Prior to starting No Crusts Interactive, she worked for Sesame Workshop, PBS KIDS, and Highlights for Children.
Carla speaks internationally about developing children’s games at industry and academic events as well as private workshops. She is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she studies technology and its relationship with human cognition and development, particularly as it applies to children and games. In February 2012, she successfully defended her dissertation, entitled “Adolescents, Video Games, and the Displacement Effect” and will be awarded the doctorate of education in May 2012. Additionally, Carla holds a master's degree in media studies from the New School University and has, on occasion, been known to twist balloon animals and hats.