If your family enjoys video games and computer technology, then Tektoma would be a great place to check out. This website is a family friendly resource dedicated to the development of technical skills involved in making video games, through interactive, easy to follow tutorials.
Upon entering the website, I became familiar with their setup by watching a video clip on "How to Use the Tutorials." This gives you a glimpse of how to toggle between the tutorial screen and the free GameMaker software used to create your game. I also became familiar with the gaming formats they have available by playing some examples of the games they offer.
Once the GameMaker software and resource pack was downloaded and installed to our computer (which took much patience and many tries to successfully figure it out), I sat down with my 12 and 9 year olds and we read through the choices of complete game tutorials offered:
*How to make a racing game (beginner) 1 hour , 23 minutes
*How to make an arcade game (beginner) 1 hour, 37 minutes
*How to make a memory game (beginner) 1 hour, 5 minutes
*How to make a platform game (intermediate) 2 hours, 7 min
*How to make a fantasy adventure game (advanced) 2 hours, 24 minutes.
There are also several smaller tutorials which explain various aspects of some of the basic tutorials.
I would like to make mention that Broadband/high speed internet is required to use this product. My intial question to customer service before accessing this program was if my satellite internet would be a problem, and my answer was that it should work ok, but I might experience a few delays. (Their customer service, by the way, is friendly, helpful, and expedient in replying to questions!) I’m happy to say we had no problems in using this with our satellite connection. I wouldn’t however, recommend trying this with dial-up.
My 12 year old decided to try out the arcade game. She had no problem opening and using the software, and felt the tutorials were very easy to follow and explain. The narrator’s voice is quite clear and instructions are concise, showing you exactly what to do on the screen step by step, as well as some common mistakes to avoid. She really enjoyed the tutorials, and felt she aquired a good basic knowledge of how gaming works and how video games are set up.
My 9 year old tried her hand at it, and while she enjoyed the experience, made a mistake somewhere along the way which messed up the whole game, and was unable, even with the help of her older sister, to figure out what she’d done wrong, so had to start over. I think this was all in all a great experience for both of them as an introduction to computer technology and what goes into programming. We also discussed how one little mistake of entering a code wrong can mess up the whole system!
If this sounds like an educational adventure you’d like your family to experience, hop on over to the Tektoma website where you can enjoy a 14 day free trial, play examples of the games you can create from the tutorials, check out a blog, subscribe to a free newsletter, and more.
———-How much does this cost?———————
Monthly subscription price is $14.95 per month, or yearly is $140.00, and includes access to the tutorials (where new curriculums are available monthly) as well as online help forums.
Go ahead, take time to play!
I received a free subscription to the Tektoma website as a member of the TOS Crew for review purposes. No other compensation was received, and opinions expressed here are my own.