This iD Tech alum created his own video game, earned a Regional Gold Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards,
then delivered a TEDx talk!
What if video game developers made games that were free of filler and grinding, that expanded the player’s empathy, and that had a positive social impact? That’s the question Matt asked and answered at TEDxCoconutGrove, where he applied and was accepted to speak on the topic.
By drawing parallels to art mediums of the past (like novels) that have overcome stigmas very similar to the one borne by video games, Matt says the great American video game could be the next great art genre that betters the world. But getting there would require a shift in priorities—with developers moving away from focusing solely on making games for pure entertainment, and towards challenging minds, expanding empathy, and tackling real world problems with their creations. The result could elevate the video game as one of the truly great mediums of human expression.
It’s a way of thinking about video games that most teens don’t care to ponder. For Matthew, it was his time at iD Tech Camps that motivated him to view gaming interests in a different light.
“Since attending iD Tech Camps and iD Coding & Engineering Academy, game development has become one of my favorite outlets for imagination and creativity. And as I created games, I grew more and more curious about the social impact of video game design.”
And for Matthew, it’s not just thinking about games, or playing them—it’s about making them.
“iD Tech empowered me to make games for myself…Before iD, I remember imagining that game developers had to draw a screen-sized image for every possible moment in the game, and then write a different line of code for each switch from one frame to the infinitesimally-different next one. In other words, I assumed game development was horrendously tedious, best left to people with supernatural patience. Thanks to iD Tech Camps, however, I learned how smart programming and a good game design platform eliminate the need for virtually all of the busy work I imagined.”
One product of Matthew’s new-found motivation is Epic Frog, a game Matthew created and submitted to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. He was awarded with the Regional Gold Key, earning him a spot in the national competition where is game was played and judged by professional skateboard legend – and subject of his very own top-selling game title – Tony Hawk.
The Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which identifies teens with exceptional artistic and literary talent. By partnering with more than 100 organizations specializing in visual and literary arts, the Alliance allows entrants to earn the chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited or published. In the last five years alone, students submitted nearly 900,000 original works of art and writing.
Matthew advises the following for future students interested in learning 21st Century STEM skills:
“Once you’ve done a few one-week programs, definitely try a 2-week iD Academy course. They take the iD experience to a whole new level: the instructors/counselors are often from the industry of the course they’re teaching; the locations are awesome; you’re surrounded by hard-working teens; and the extra week gives you time to create an ambitious final project.”
To end, the iD Tech alum stresses that the “Great American Video Game” is still waiting to be made. He says to imagine, hang on to ideas if not immediately executable, and keep building game development skills every chance you get.
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