These kids at Hack’d Mini, were truly amazing!
What’s Hacked Mini you ask? Well, it was a really cool event put on by 100 Girls of Code organizer Danithea Ward, put together this past Friday. And I had the honor of being a judge!
The night started off with a Pizza party …..never knew how good Mariano’s pizza was! So anyway once we’d pigged out on the pizza the kids headed into the classrooms with their coaches to get some basic training on how to develop a basic app using “made with code” lessons by google.After 30 minutes of learning the basics for creating a “flappy bird” type of game. The children were set free to design a similar game of their own! There would be two winners one boy and one girl.
About an hour later myself and the other three judges ventured throughout the auditorium to get a sneak peek at what the participants were working on. After checking in with various participants like Jayla and Justin who took the time to explain what “flappy bird” was and why it was being used as the template for the children to pattern their games off. For those of you who are not familiar with “flappy bird” it was a fairly popular and addictive game that launched in 2014, the object of the game is to guide the bird through a set of pipes and if you run your bird into a pipe you lose.
Now it’s time for the judging to begin and the young people are assembling in front of the judging table to present their creations to us. First up were the young men…now y’all I must admit I thought this was going to be a breeze but yeah NO! It was very challenging because our task was to give each competitor a score from 1-10 for the following Functionality/Completion of the game; Creativity/Originality(This was the hard part all of the games had the same underlying premise…or so I thought!) Presentation. Anyhoo back to the judging. So the first young man was an 8 yr old Seth who created a game called Rocket Rush that functioned similarly like “flappy bird”, Seth did a great job! He changed the basic “flappy bird” background to look as if you were in space and changed the avatar to be a rocket. Boy, was I impressed, so initially I gave him a 27! But as more boys presented to us one after another the games became fancier and fancier.And the way that they were presenting and explaining what they had developed and why, I was blown away. Some had added music and background noises that coincided with the theme of their projects. And then the girls came and HOLLLY GOODNESS!! These girls are going to take Silicon Valley by storm when they are finished acquiring their coding skills! Let me tell you about Jayla, this little lady was a precocious 9 yr old who’d created a game called Honey Bee, she’s turned the columns into flower stems. Her avatar was, of course, a bumble bee and she had added the buzzing sound. Her game would deduct points the 1st and 2nd time the bee ran into the flower stems.If you hit it a 3rd time your bee died. Jayla did a great job functionality and creativity but a few of the other judges felt that she could have done better on her presentation. Sidebar ladies if you are reading this….you know what we have to do….that’s right start prepping our girls to look people right in the eye and tell’em what they want!
Ok back to the story, so by now you’re probably like come on, girl, who won, already! Well, the winner was a young lady named Torie, If you ask me Torie had an unfair advantage as her mom was one of the coaches. Anyhoo Torie had designed the game to look like the seascape from the upcoming movie Dories Adventure and titled her game as such. Torie had included all of the bells and whistles that were available in her game.! It had music, ocean sounds and the sound most games make when your avatar dies. She’s also set it up so that her columns moved when your avatar moved. And goodness could she present. Torie started her presentation with why she made the game, then how she made it and why she choose to include the elements that she did. She also explained how to play her game and got one of the other judges to play the game and asked the judge, how did he enjoy the game! Like I said before those kids were amazing! For most of the kids who attended the hack, it was their 1st time attending this type of event. They all had a great time and were looking forward to the next event. And let me tell you something so where the judges.
I guess the theme of last week was about doing things that are sometimes uncomfortable and finding yourself having an amazing time! With that being said head on over to Code.org, and download the instructions and the templates to try building your own “flappy bird” game.
Cheers to a great weekend and now to a busy week of packing and preparing for the next chapter in trying to make lemonade out of the lemons that are being thrown my way.