So if I told you this was a house, would you know where to start on building it? You might start with the green base, maybe play around with the white pieces, probably leave space for the door, maybe make the roof out of the blue pieces. A perfectly serviceable house. You might hunt for the instructions so it will look the way it was meant to with those pieces. Or maybe you only play with pre-packaged lego, no risk of missing pieces or doing it wrong.
Let’s say I want to build that lego house. My brain pleads for the instructions, so I can do it right, and I know it will turn out right. Like a puzzle, I want to know I’ve got all the pieces, because it’s been built before by my kids, and maybe a couple of the pieces have been eaten by the vacuum cleaner. I kept all the pieces in their own container so I could play around with it when I had some time. I have experience with small children that if pieces are missing, a temper tantrum from the small human is likely, or worse, giving up. Play is gone. Fun is gone. It had such potential to be fun! So I know I’ll be at least annoyed if I sit down to play with this and there are pieces are missing. So I sort the pieces by color, then lay them out grouped by shape. Then I count them using the handy inventory list included in the instructions, to make sure nothing was missing. There was. I have miscellaneous mystery pieces I’ve got sorted by color for just such occasions. Now I’m ready to play!
Why would I do this? Because I care deeply about what happens when you play. I don’t want anything to get in the way of the fun. I sure don’t want to decide either I or some small human who’s going to play this is going to get stopped or frustrated right when they get into it.
This is the same attention I’ve been putting into my game designs. I’m doing them with paper and printer and felt markers and clay and game bits borrowed from my game collection. I’m playtesting with game designers of Alberta, and talking to teachers. I’m having my kids play, and I’m playing, and I have a sixty year old grandma playing my games. I’m making games. Why? Because I want to bring play and fun to language learning. I know I’ve got about 5 minutes of your attention before you decide your’re not good at this, this is a lot of work, this is frustrating, and you’re too busy to do this. Anyone can learn a second language. I promise it can be fun.
Support this effort by getting in touch with me. I’m hard at work in Santa’s workshop making stocking stuffers that you can buy to support dream2do in keeping its doors open and the quest for good language learning games fun alive. The online store will be open in the next couple of days.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Funny thing, my contact me page is broken, I’ll get that fixed right away!)