The world continues to become more technologically advanced - that we can say for certain. But one of the major concerns for educators and tech leaders around the world is how do we train and encourage the young and the old to pursue a programming career that is so essential to the future of society? Nintendo seems to have a fun solution to this very problem.
Building upon the successes of titles like Super Mario Maker, Game Builder Garage is the latest upcoming game by Nintendo to put you, the gamer, in the seat of the designer. Building on similar principles to Super Mario Maker, gamers will be able to programme, design and play games in sandbox-like levels - putting a real focus onto creativity. Players will be able to share their creations to the world, forming an anticipation for a community bursting with passion and scope.
But what the biggest selling point of the game so far is it’s focus on programming and creating your own games. Game Builder Garage will teach players ‘the basics of programming logic step-by-step in a fun and interactive way’, using different characters, called Nodon’s, to highlight different sides to game design. Nodon’s like Button Nodon, Effect Nodon or even NOT Nodon help simplify the programming process, doing away with complex coding language that is often associated with programming.
This game comes as the UK is in the midst of an IT skill shortage. The Learning and Work Institute published a report that cited ‘that there is a mismatch between supply and demand’. This becomes even more concerning, as when it comes to young people, ‘The number of GCSE entries in computing or information and communication technology (ICT) declined from 147,000 in 2015 to 88,000 in 2020, a drop of 40%.’ There is clearly a disconnect between supply and demand when it comes to skills, meaning that encouraging young people to acquire the needed skills is a must. This game could be a fun way to teach young people, as well as older people, to acquire the skills needed for the future.
Interestingly, from the outlook, Game Builder Garage reminds me of Scratch, the software at school that lets you create effects and games by placing blocks in a sequence. I’m afraid to say this is the extent of my knowledge surrounding coding. But, despite my disinterest in coding, programmes like Scratch and video games like the upcoming Game Builder Garage, create a fun new access to an industry that so desperately needs more people.
As well as this, the game comes with a modest £26.99 price tag. This could be an attempt to make the game that much more accessible, as many kids may not be able to afford the £60 price tag that many adventures in the Nintendo Switch lineup have.
With its colourful graphics, seemingly simple mechanics and the possibility for a flood of creativity, Game Builder Garage is set to be released 11 June 2021 on the Nintendo Switch, meaning we won’t have to wait long to indulge in a new step in making everyone a game designer.