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Warioware D.I.Y. opens the door on game creation, but needs a little help to get players really having fun with minigames.
Being some one who teaches computer programming to kids, I thought Warioware Do It Yourself would be the perfect introduction into the world of game making. Having grown up with the classic Shoot Em Up Construction Kit on the Commodore 64 with its intuitive game making system I thought there was no way Nintendo could kids get this wrong.
My two daughters, both aged eight, tried it but were put off after around forty five minutes. They said there was way too much reading and "nothing much has happened yet".
And that is one of the problems with Warioware Do It Yourself - the length of time it takes to make a recognisable game. My son however, aged eight, was happier to invest more time and enjoyed it more. It is a game where you might have to help your child work for quite a while but eventually they will be able to take over themselves.
Although I wasn't particularly taken by Warioware D.I.Y. what it did manage to do was to get my son thinking about making games. He has always known this is what I teach other kids to do but he's never really understood what it meant.
After playing we talked a lot about what kind of game he would make. He decide he wanted to make a platform game , but he wanted to make it quickly and try out the idea. To make a simple platform game in Warioware D.I.Y. would have taken ages.
From previous experience I knew I had to jump on this opportunity, and feed his interest before he got tired of the idea. I first thought of using Processing (my daughters used it with some success for their ideas) but they are quite different to my son and he needed to see results quickly. So we turned to Game Maker - another tool I use in teaching about games. You can be as thorough as you like with Game Maker from writing the actual code to simply altering one of the many templates and example games it has, and that's what we did.
I loaded up Game Maker and was immediately able to show him an existing platform game, show him the different elements of the game; the good guys, the bad guys, items and backgrounds. I was able to give him a list of what he needed to draw and he went straight to it.
In the space of about an hour we went from the idea of the game to actually having two playable levels, by simply altering the graphics and layout of a example game. Sure, we didn't code it from scratch, but it was still a big achievement for him and seemed very enjoyable.
I have always been critically of games or software packages that claim to allow for creativity, while in actual fact you are simply making additional levels as unpaid employee. Warioware D.I.Y. is a game about making games. I wouldn't regard it as a game maker and it's certainly not as comprehensive Game Maker. But even though I didn't enjoy the tutorials that seemed to go on forever, it has helped my son look at games in an entirely different way and he still thoroughly enjoys it playing it.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: