In 2019, we were introduced to a fantastic new game at the “Last Gadget Standing” event during CES and immediately became fans of DoodleMatic—you can read our post here: Game Creation is Doodlematic Gameplay (GeekDad, October 3, 2019). In the time since, that game has continued to expand on their library of game types, and lots of great games have been shared by creators! Recently, they rebranded and added even more awesome features—the updated game: Pixicade, is everything it was before and so much more!
Creators use specific colors to draw different items within the game (black for floor and walls, green for your avatar, blue for goals, red for hazards, and purple for movable items). Then use the application (available for both iOS and Android) to snap a photo and turn the drawing into a playable game! As creators of all ages develop games, they can make improvements to gameplay, which is as simple as tweaking the original drawing and re-scanning it or using the in-game editing tools. The editor tools also allow creators to add powerups and movement of game elements. Once a designer is happy with their game, it can be shared on social media for the world to enjoy.
As we said in our 2019 post, there are many excellent products that can teach the basics of coding to kids, and many of them lead into the creation of basic games. As great as these can be, there has been relatively little advancement over the years other than the inclusion of updated coding languages. Pixicade is the missing piece and teaches kids the theories of game design—how to make them fun, engaging, and perhaps even educational… not just functional. Pixicade encourages even more open-ended creativity for game design than its own predecessor.
The updated Pixicade lets creators develop games on a series of templates, including: Get the Goals (in the classic platformer-style), Maze Maker, Super Slingshot, Hole in One, Brick Breaker, and now even two-player games based on the Paddle Battle and Volley Versus templates.
Reinforcing our love of Pixicade, the game has been awarded several incredible honors, including: the 2021 Newsweek Best in Stem, 2019 Gold Award Recipient Mom’s Choice Awards, 2019 Tillywig Award Winner for Best Creative Fun, STEM.org authenticated product, and The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval.
Still not convinced of how open-ended the creativity can be with Pixicade? How about trying your hand at our very own GeekDad-themed game—just move your green astronaut avatar to collect all the blue goal items (game controllers, movies, and even a 20-sided die) while avoiding the red hazard items (evil robots).
We were sent a Pixicade Interactive Mobile Game Creating Starter Kit for the purposes of this review (all opinions are, of course, our own) and despite being two years older, the kids have held the tablet hostage as they create, play, critique, edit, and play again (and repeat) for days. You can purchase your own Pixicade Interactive Mobile Game Creating Starter Kit on Amazon.