Young teens are putting their imagination to the test to create their own video games.
Jean Leggett is the CEO of ‘One More Story Games’ – a tech start-up in Barrie, Ontario. On Friday, she’s taught students at Westside Academy a bit about coding and how to use her publishing software.
It may just be simple point and click games, but Leggett says this is just the beginning for young kids getting into the tech world. “We’re just having them tapping into their creativity and having them express that,” she said. “Instead of doing an essay, they get to create a video game that means so much more to them.”
Leggett held four summer camp sessions for kids aged 11-16 this past summer in Barrie. She will be seen on the upcoming season of Dragon’s Den and has worked with amateur, as well as world-class writers. Recently, One More Story Games has worked with Charlaine Harris, the writer for HBO’s True Blood series.
“We have actually developed our own platform for writers of all ages, so ten and all the way up to in their 80s to play and develop story-based games,” Leggett said.
It’s especially motivating for Westside Academy students like Faythe Chance who is just entering Grade 8. Computer’s aren’t her fancy, but it’s making her think of new ways to create stories. “I would like to become an author and I am working on a few of my own stories at home right now,” Chance said. “It kind of motivates me to think beyond your own limits, to think outside of the box so that there’s more opportunities than there are out there.”
Meanwhile, Leggett’s platform is inspiring young women like Grade 11 student Naomi Spyker to get more involved in a male-dominated industry. “In the video game world, you don’t see a lot of girls there that are lead roles and I think that’s really cool how they’re putting girls in there,” Spyker said.
One More Story Games and Leggett now hope to work with teachers and develop in-class curriculum for students looking to create games. “We try and meet the students where they are, rather than say you can only do this,” she said. “We don’t want to put them in a box, so we say what’s your idea and how do we make that possible?”