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Make Your Own Video Game: St. Louis Start-Up Combines Fun & Learning

There is a new way to look at video games coming out of St. Louis. The Pixel Press Floors app, which was released Wednesday for iPad, allows people to draw their own video game levels on graph paper.  The app then allows users to take a picture of their drawing and turn that picture into a “run-and-jump Mario-esque style” video game.

"[The Floors app is] for people who don’t necessarily know how to write code and are interested in creating things,” said Robin Rath, the creator of Pixel Press Technology. “The challenge of Mario was to navigate obstacles, enemies, and hazards to reach a goal at the end … What Pixel Press does is focuses on the most core elements of that and gives people the tools to arrange those objects in a challenging way and essentially create their own puzzles.”

Andrew Goodin is an educator at Grand Center Arts Academy. He sees the app as an entry portal for students to develop an interest in coding, something he says is becoming more important. The app allows users to bypass the technical aspects of coding and gain early successes that creators and educators hope will encourage students to dig deeper into how building a game works.

Credit Courtesy of Pixel Press
Users can take a picture of their graph paper drawing to convert it into a playable video game.

Goodin's students worked with the Pixel Press team in the beta-testing stage of the app. The students are studying design thinking, the process of considering the user, developing a level, and then testing it with the Pixel Press team. “I think it allows them to see the design thinking process in a bite-sized way,” says Goodin.

Pixel Press is utilizing the feedback from Goodin’s class and they already have a number of updates in the works. They hope to add more features and characters, as well as the ability for people to add their own characters, soon. 

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.

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