This morning my ten year old son brought me an ad from a magazine that he gets for a new Lego video game called Lego Universe . Getting ahead of the game he told me that this looked interesting and that he might be interested in it for Christmas. (good strategy!)
My kids (and I of course) have played the Lego Star Wars and Harry Potter games and had a lot of fun with them. So, doing what any geeky parent would, I headed online and found reviews, a fairly extensive Wikipedia entry and a trailer on Youtube.
I then ran into this video, an overview of the game made by some of the people involved in its building and design. They showed some of the standard footage of the game showing off cool stuff. Then, from about the 2:30 mark, they blew me away.
So let’s get this straight. In this game, I do the standard quest and battle kind of stuff, collecting blocks and pieces along the way. Then, I take those pieces back to the space that I get as a game subscriber and I can build whatever I want. The video shows houses of all sorts being built, from forts to castles, to high tech homes. As a game subscriber I get access to every single type of Lego piece that there is. A sandbox for creativity.
But the part that really blew me away was the programming piece. On my property I can also build whatever I want: vehicles, creatures, inventions of all types and then I can program them, using an interface that looks on the video like a cross between Lego Mindstorms, Phun, and Scratch. I can add behaviours and make my creations responsive to their environment. I can make games and spaces that other people can play in. I can share these creations and games with the other players in this universe.
Creativity. Programming. Global collaboration. For 10 year olds.
And what’s going on in our classrooms?