‘Just for Girls!’ video game camp teaches computer skills, confidence

just-for-girlsGirls interested in creating and playing their own video games can now register for the NIU Digital Convergence Lab’s “Just for Girls!” video game design camp.

This day camp for students entering fifth- through ninth-grade will take place on the NIU campus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, June 20, through Friday, June 24.

Campers will explore and analyze popular contemporary games to see what makes them tick, then learn how to design and program their own games from scratch.

Sessions will focus on everything from programming virtual spaces and game interfaces to developing compelling characters and storylines.

“Almost half of all video gamers today are women,” says Aline Click, co-director of the Digital Convergence Lab. “But that diversity isn’t reflected in the industry, which is overwhelmingly male. This disparity represents an opportunity for the female game designers of tomorrow. We want to help girls develop the know-how to reshape the gaming landscape by making games with content they’re interested in. As a bonus, the tools of game design are useful across the whole tech industry.”

All instructors and guest speakers will be women, demonstrating to campers that girls can and do succeed in gaming and other technology-related fields.

“In addition to building tech skills and confidence, this camp is all about fun,” Click says. “Whether you become a professional game designer or not, turning a story you imagine in your head into an interactive experience for others is a blast.”

The camp has space for only 20 participants, so early registration (available online) is recommended. For more information, email aclick@niu.edu.

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