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May 2017 Retro Gaming Article


May 24, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

ABC's Toy Box game show Should have been “Dev Box” focusing on video games

ArtSplash won the ToyBox game show
Seeing someone's hard work being trashed by a pretentious child for entertainment value made this ridiculous show hard to watch.
At the very least, I hoped this program would showcase some interesting new toy ideas. There were a few cool ideas, but nothing really jumped out at me. Strangely, few of the toys were very technically oriented. But the real downfall for me was the predictable format of the show.

Inventors met with three professionals who prescreened their creations. Next the toy would be presented to four kids who were the weak link of maintaining any standards. But alas, it's just a game show, so I guess we can't expect anything serious - which is a shame. Shows involving creating, should consider their audience and develop content that stimulates, rather than catering to lame humor.

The ArtSplash creation won the final prize, but seemed the least interesting to me. Interestingly, there were two runners-up who also got contracts with Mattel/Toys R Us - both seemed like better choices, especially the Noisy Persons card game!

The Dev Box ??

After watching a few episodes of the Toy Box, I concluded this would have been much more fun as The Dev Box! Get a bunch of game developers onto a show to vie for best game. I'm oversimplifying the idea, but there are numerous game jams where devs have a set time in which to create a game and are judged on it. Good fun and evokes loads of creativity and camaraderie.

TV programming should speak to a higher audience and stimulate creativity - even game shows!
If you dig through ThatGameCompany's Journey disc, you'll come across Duke War which evolved from such a jam. I love this game! It's simple, fun and 2-players battle on a single screen. Check out this game and picture the variety of games that might evolve from a TV game show highlighting video game development!

Want to boost interest in STEM programs? Focus a show on game making and toss it on primetime TV. I'm certain you'll stimulate a lot of kids to explore what their computers are really capable of.

The Spectrum was a huge instigator of game development in the UK back in the 80s where folks discovered they could make their own games inspired by the ones they'd played! This explosion of development interest came to both Atari and Commodore computers as well as others.

I think kids today could use a tech jump start and realize smartphones and computers do a lot more than send messages and display timelines full of useless crap. Go make something awesome!

ToyBox game show judges The 4 judges who randomly eliminated contestants, making the whole outcome a matter of luck, not great design.

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