Red Storm recently took a trip to the White House to participate in the first ever White House Educational Game Jam. Organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Educational Technology, the jam brought several small teams of developers and education experts together for 48 hours of intense prototyping and exploration into the power of playful learning. Senior policymakers had a hunch that games could engage students and help them tackle some of the trickiest subjects, and they invited about a hundred developers to help prove them right.
We joined teams from big studios, small studios, universities, and other educational companies at the offices of Difference Engine in the heart of Washington DC’s Dupont Circle. From the instant the jam began, the teams’ creativity and technical prowess were on full display. Our team took on the challenge of teaching students about ecosystems and what it takes to keep a complex web of interactions from collapsing in a total extinction event.
The result was Endemos, a game that allows players to create new creatures and balance traits such as size, vitality, lifespan, and mobility in an effort to create a sustainable population. Towards the end of the weekend, the organizers brought a number of students in to play the prototypes, and it was amazing to see the positive response the team got from their intense efforts. It was a long haul, but seeing the kids make ridiculous creatures and debate whether wolf-sharks were cooler than bear-sharks made it all worthwhile.
Red Storm’s team returned exhausted but fulfilled. It was a privilege to get to partner with so many excellent educators and also to see the amazing creativity and talent our fellow devs brought to the jam. With senior officials seriously exploring how games can be used to support education, there’s a lot of reason to be excited about the future of collaboration between educators and developers. Red Storm was truly honored by the invitation, and we’re proud of our team’s contribution to making the first White House Educational Game Jam a success.