Good Game Spawn Point – inspiring game reviews

Having recently moved house we have only just re-connected our television and our two boys (6 and 9) have discovered ABC 3 – what a great free-to-air channel!

As all parents know, children’s programs are awful yet compelling … Sitting with laptop on lap trying to mark 16 essays before 9am the next day, you just can’t help but be attracted by the bright colours and goofy sounding voices!

This was how I cam across Good Game Spawn Point – a show on ABC 3 that reviews the latest games. The show is hosted by two cool-looking games-geeks and their robot sidekick, D.A.R.R.E.N (Data Analysing Robot for the Ruthless Extermination of Noobs) … need I say more about its engagement value for students?! You can check out more about it here.

What I love about it is the seriousness with which the two hosts – Hex and Bajo – review each game. Their language is dense with game jargon yet is engaging and understandable for their target audience – young gamers – as well as being sophisticated and articulate. I couldn’t help watching the show – not just to avoid marking – and it actually made me want to try to be a better gamer. (Aside – I can do X-Box 360 Lips and Wii Sports, that’s it!)

I’m seriously thinking of setting an assessment task for my Year 9 students where they have to create their own segment for Good Game Spawn Point. They would need to learn to analyse games as texts, evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the text ans then use language appropriate to gaming and purpose to persuade their viewers to try the game or not. As Year 9 are DER kids I’ll get them to film and edit their segments and then upload it to a class youtube channel or vodpod to share with the class. Of course they could go on edmodo once uploaded to either. Cool.

After posting a couple of tweets about this possible task I discovered that my PLN pal Paula Madigan has already run such a task with her Year 8 students. Cool! Not being DER kids, she had her students assessed on the speaking component of the tasks – great!

So – would you have a go at this task or have you done something similar where novels/poems/films/picturebooks etc have been reviewed and shared?



12 thoughts on “Good Game Spawn Point – inspiring game reviews

  1. Great idea. We already spend three weeks on gaming with Year 9 – with the current assessment being a created game via Scratch. An option of a review as you describe might appeal to the minority of students who don’t enjoy creating the games. It would probably also appeal more to some of the teachers in my Department!

    If you do it before term 3 next year – make sure you blog about it.

    • Cool – your kids make games? That’s awesome! Is it based on a text they’ve studied? I know MacICT do a task with PS where the kids make games based on narrative of novel recently studied. Looked pretty cool – they used Kahootz. Would love a licence for that at our school!

      I will let you know when I run the activity – I’m thinking end of Term 1 or beginning of Term 2.

  2. We were very lucky at MacICT to have Bajo and Hex come along and review our students’ games f2f at the Centre for our Design Showcase earlier this term. All our students are avid followers of the Good Game Spawn Point and regularly review each others’ games during the design process of our Game Design project. Teachers also give feedback during and at the end of the project. If you want to do this in a more authentic context, then we would love your students to analyse our students’ games as multimodal texts, evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the text and then use language appropriate to gaming and purpose to persuade their viewers to try the game or not. Our project participants have already developed assessment rubrics to evaluate their work and your participation would be extremely welcomed. There’s nothing like having motivated, interested participants.

    • Debbie, that sounds awesome! What time of the year next year would you anticipate the students’ games to be completed? I could get my students to make a complete episode with all games reviewed and different reviewers per game with a couple of students as hosts? Might have to work this into a Year 9 PBL project … let me know the dates and I’m there!

      • Next year in term 1, we will be working with students to design Kodu games (or Kahootz 3 if preferred). Kodu does have specific hardware requirements so it is not always suitable. we would LOVE your kids to do this as part of the project. I will get our project leader to contact you!

  3. Thank you so much Bianca. If I could only share the emails the audience write in with their parents and teachers.. such insightful comments, well constructed arguments and passion for their subject matter. They’re incredible.

    No promises, but I’d love to see the best contributions if you do decide to go ahead with the idea.. we might be able to turn it into a segment on the show… here’s a review sent in by ?? – Bajo, Hex and Darren present the material. It could really spark something across our entire audience and become a regular part of the program.

    There are plenty of free (good) games on the internet that I’m assuming kids would be able to access at school so that those not fortunate enough to own expensive consoles would be able to join in too.

    Fingers crossed and thanks again for the kind words about the show – it’s made with a lot of passion and pride by the GG:SP team.

    Series Producer,
    GG:Spawn Point

    • Thanks for your comment Janet! I will definitely be incorporating this activity into my Year 9 program next year – hopefully end of Term 1. There are other teachers who I know that are also either doing this type of task already with high school students (like Paula Madigan who commented above) or are keen to run something similar with primary school students (like Mitch Squires who also commented above)!

      What a great idea to make it a segment of the show – kids would love having a real audience! Thanks for the offer :0)

      Can’t wait to plan it and run it next year!!

  4. I love the idea of getting High School students to review games made by other students and I would jump at the opportunity to get your students to review some of the games designed by participants in the MacICT Game Design project. I am the project leader of this project. I also teach year 6 three days a week. My Year 6 students have designed, built and reviewed games made with Kahootz and Kodu for the last 2 years. Currently some of my students are creating persuasive web sites in collaborative groups on the learning that occurs when you play video games. These sites also contain game reviews of ‘good’ games. It has been a great activity to finish up the year with, as the students have remained highly engaged at a time of the year where very often Year 6 become disengaged in learning.

    • Thanks for your comment, Cathie!

      You work at Cromer PS, is that right? Just down the road from me! I like the idea of the persuasive website. I’m actually thinking about the persuasive element of the game reviews as this will help me convince my HT that the task is related to NAPLAN and therefore worth giving a go in the eyes of the parents and executive ;0)

      When I decide how I am going to tackle this awesome project, I will definitely be in touch with you and Debbie.


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