Summer program engages local high school students with creative game development

July 12, 2023

Group of high schoolers sitting at a table looking at card games

Quinnipiac’s summer program is all fun and games as 12 high school students are participating in a two-week Game Design and eSports residential camp, which began July 3 and ends July 14.

The program is led by Quinnipiac professors Leon Perniciaro and David Tomczyk. Students will dive into the various stages of the game design process through engaging lessons and activities.

“Over the two weeks of camp, students will be making their own board games, coming up with their own unique ideas for their games' premises, their mechanics, and everything else that goes into game creation,” Perniciaro said. “The goal will be for each student to have a game that they can be proud of, that has undergone several rounds of iterative playtesting and revision, and that they can continue to work on after camp has ended.”

Last week, the students played and evaluated board games such as Citadels and Magic Maze as they prepared to make games of their own.

“I originally signed up for this course because I thought it was for video game design,” said Gabriel Hinkson, a junior-to-be at Hamden High School. “I’ve gotten a whole lot out of this program. “Now, I’m interested in both video game and board game design. Both can be really fun.”

Annabelle Rosenbush, a rising junior from Glastonbury, said she is designing a card game involving flower bouquets, the details of which she kept close to the vest.

“We’re learning game theory and what it’s like to create a game, which I think is really cool,” she said in between rounds of Citadels. “When you look at it, it seems like we’re just playing games, but we are researching and analyzing.”

That is what the camp is all about. The game development process allows students to eagerly let their creativity flow with the fabrication of their games.

“Game creation should be fun, but it is also an enormous industry that has the same serious aspects as anything else,” Perniciaro said. “We ask the campers, just like our students during the semester, to play everything we throw at them in good faith and to take the games seriously as game designers.”

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