Changing the game: the evolution of videogames resources

Pre-lesson activities

Before your virtual lesson with us, we'd love for you and your class to engage with a pre-lesson activity.

Videogames have been around for a while, not as long as film and TV but certainly for a lot longer than your students. Games play a large role in the lives of our students, and for their pre-lesson activity, we would like them to think about gaming today and gaming back in the 1970s. Encourage them to think not just about the differences, but similarities as well - so, what elements of gaming have stayed the same?

Open the .pdf, it is writeable and can be digitally filled it in a web browser, Adobe Acrobat or similar. It also includes links for students to follow. It can be tackled by individuals, groups, or as a class brainstorm.

Students may well make the observation that videogames look better and are more complex, but encourage them to think differences and similarities in terms of:

- how videogames are played

- where videogames are played

- social contexts of videogames

- the gaming industry

- the accessibility of videogames

- how games are marketed and monetised

- gameplay and game mechanics

As this talk is about the evolution of videogames, we'll be discussing with students not just technological changes, but also changes within society, the games industry, and the audience for videogames. This task will prepare them for this thinking.

Play this game!

During the virtual lesson, we'll discuss the indie-game scene, and how the industry and technologies have become accessible to the extent individuals can make and share games.

A game students could play (that's free, browser-based, and made in Melbourne) is Short Trip.

This game can be played through in under five minutes. Have students play the game, and ask students the following questions after:

  1. Would this game have been possible 20 years ago? Why/why not?
  2. What stood out to you about the game, what made it unique?
  3. Describe the mechanics of the game - what controls were there, what actions could you perform?

Student experience

Early in the virtual lesson, students will be asked the following questions about their experience and knowledge of videogames. Students don't have to have written responses ready but please have them think about these questions before the lesson so they have responses in mind.

  1. Who has made a videogame? 
  2. What was/do you think the most difficult part? 
  3. What skills did you/ would draw upon to develop a videogame? 
  4. If you have made a videogame, did it change your appreciation for the games you play? 

Preparing students for the virtual lesson

Please join one of our test videoconferences by yourself prior to the lesson. You should've received information about this when you got the link to this page.

We encourage student participation and sharing of ideas. Let students know this might involve them having to come closer to your microphone.

Some situations might require you the teacher to relay student's thoughts and responses to ACMI presenters yourself. 

Acknowledgement of country

At the start of each lesson, ACMI Educators acknowledgement the traditional custodians of the land we're on.

We encourage participating schools to acknowledge the land they are on. This could come in the form of a proper acknowledgement, or by letting ACMI Educators know the land your school is on.

Find out more about acknowledgements and view the Traditional Owners map on the Aboriginal Victoria website.

Post-visit activities

Further reading:

Not compulsory but if students were interested in some of the topics raised in the lesson they can read more.

The Last of Us II accessibility features.

ACMI's Codebreakers exhibition; find out more about the practitioners and the games they were involved in

Bennet Foddy talking about making Getting Over It and videogame spectatorship

Grace Bruxner (Frog Detective) long talk on humour in games

Future of gaming

In the lesson, we spoke a lot about changes in the gaming industry over the years. Get students into groups to discuss the future of gaming in 20 years' time.

Groups can pick 3-4 topics from the list below (or all if they are really keen). There are some guided questions to help prompt responses.

Consoles: what will they look like, what new features might they have? Will they be bigger, smaller? 

Controllers: what will they look like? Will they be more adaptable/flexible like the Xbox adaptive controller

TVs and monitors: will consoles and computers still be linked to televisions and monitors? Will the TVs and monitors themselves change in any way? 

Mobile gaming: where do you see mobile gaming going?  

Representation: will playable characters be more diverse? Will players have more control over how they customise their character? 

Gamers: who will be playing games in 25 years' time?  

Industry trends: will we see more independent game studios and more individuals making games, or will the games industry be totally dominated by bigger game companies like EA, Rockstar, Naughty Dog? 

Online gaming: will online multiplayer spell the end for single-player campaigns, and story-driven games? Or will there be room for both in the future? Do you see any other trends or changes for online gaming? 

Character creator

Go to https://make.gamefroot.com/

Game Froot is a free game engine.

Click 'Start a new game' or create an account if you'd like to save your work and continue making games in the future.

Find the 'character creator' icon down the bottom of the left-hand side panel. 

Create a main character for a platformer game. Mix it up a bit, instead of having a white male protagonist, utilise the different features to create someone more unexpected.

Character backstory

Give your character a name:___________________________________

Tell us about the platform game they are in: (Fighting Zombies? Monsters? Solving puzzles? Exploring?) ___________________________________

Give your character a backstory, how did they get here (your game) fighting Zombies or solving ancient puzzles or whatever it might be: __________________________________________

Further learning

Keen to develop a game with your students?

Use your Game Builder resource to develop their gamemaking skills.