An intergenerational game making workshop at the National Museum of Natural History proved successful last week. Kids, parents, and grandparents all got together to practice game design. Allison Mishkin, a research and program manager at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, says “If you can create a video game, you can create a board game. If you can create a board game, you can create a video game. And if you’ve played soccer, odds are you can do both.”
The goal of the event—which was sponsored by the AARP—was not to teach game design, exactly, but to combat the digital, generational, and physical distance between relatives. The attendees’ mission was to devise an idea for a video game that people across generations would want to play together.
Participants built a physical version of the game using everyday items like paper and Starburst candies. The kids and their relatives figured out the mechanics, components, rules, and other details, while simultaneously learning from each other what kinds of problems different players might encounter.