January 24, 2010

Inspiration from an Inventor

Posted by at 8:46 am in Games, Kid Power | Permalink

LightbulbHey, Splotters! Over the past few months, teen inventors Alyssa and Kaycee have been walking you through the inventing process. Now it's time to hear from another young inventor! Meet Dan Slutz, the winner of 2009′s Invent A Game Challenge. He nabbed first place for his original video game idea about harnessing the power of music. Here's Dan's story:

It was on a small invention blog where I first heard of the Invent A Game Challenge run by By Kids For Kids (BKFK). I had been neglecting my work in art class and decided to surf the web instead. The instant I finished reading about the contest and examining the rules and possible prizes, I began writing a myriad of ideas down, but nothing really stuck out to me too profoundly. No more than 15 minutes later, I had doodled a small, big-headed character wearing a large pair of headphones — and the concept of “Rhythm” sort of just snapped into place.

The concept behind “Rhythm” is that all music has been stolen from the world and music is the irreplaceable source in the universe. My original concept had the player controlling two characters at once, but I much preferred my new idea because I saw the current popular music genre as becoming old and stale.

Rhythm Rhythm is the main character's name — hence the game's title — and it is up to you to restore the lost order. To accomplish such a task, the player must use what little music is left to manipulate the surrounding environment. For example, by using hard rock, the player can take a normally fluffy cloud that could not be stood upon and turn it into a solid object, gaining access to a new area. There are limitless possibilities with multiple genres of music and various items to find throughout the expansive world.

To say I waited a while before entering the idea in the Invent A Game Challenge would be putting it lightly. I procrastinated until the night before the due date and I had school the next day, so there was no possibility of getting it in by noon. It was just my luck, however, that the image uploader wasn't working, so I had to redo all of the art for my ideas and give links to them instead. Needless to say, it was quite the ordeal.

When I initially entered the contest, I told no one but a few friends, and it wasn't until I reached the finals when I told my dad. He was very supportive, but he warned me not to get my hopes too high, for there was quite a way to go. I agreed but kept on praying, for such a huge opportunity only comes around once in a lifetime, and when I got the news by phone I was ecstatic, to say the least.

I encourage readers to do your best regardless of your age, for opportunity can come around in the most unexpected ways. Never give up your dreams no matter how imposing they may seem, and never let anyone tell you that you can't get something done. BKFK presents many opportunities in the form of various contests, and I encourage readers to try them because you never know what you can accomplish until you try. Sometimes it is worth taking a risk if it is to accomplish what you truly desire.

— Dan Slutz, Kid/Teen Inventor

Dan Dan Slutz is the grand prize winner of the 2009 Best Buy and EA Invent A Game Challenge. Dan won a U.S. Savings bond of $10,000 and a trip to the Best Buy Headquarters. His game is currently under review at EA for a potential game that you could play online!

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