Shall We Play a Game? Creators at Denver Comic Con Go Way Beyond Gaming
At this year’s E.D.G.E. Expo, a bunch of very cool exhibitors are demonstrating how technology, engineering, science and innovation are transforming gaming to create unique educational experiences and transformative encounters that can teach both kids and adults that games can sometime move far beyond entertainment.
First, what is the E.D.G.E.? It’s our gaming experience expanded and redefined to include a wider variety of entertainment, gaming, creation and educational offerings in an experiential setting. It goes like this:
E: Entertainment, including videos, podcasts, streaming entertainment and more.
D: Development and Design, for all makers, DIY-ers, crafters, coders, engineers and developers.
G: Gamers, from the casual to the hardcore and from PC enthusiasts to console junkies.
E: Education, for like-minded people who think pop culture, gaming and other media are great platforms for teaching young people about the world.
There are lots of fresh ideas and innovative concepts behind the E.D.G.E. Expo at Denver Comic Con. First, we wanted to develop an area that expands on Denver Comic Con’s features and content by focusing on gaming, technology, science and creation. We also want to provide makers, creators, developers, designers and educators a dedicated space to demonstrate their creations and share their unique voices as well as creating a space to generate discussions and inspirations between creators and our many, many guests. This allows attendees not only the opportunity to explore and play with great new products they might not otherwise encounter, but also to learn the mission, vision and purpose behind the process of creating, making developing and delivering a product to the public. Also, we wanted mad scientists to force mechanical monstrosities to fight to the death in the arena, but that was just a bonus.
Let us introduce some of the innovative developers and exhibitors who are bringing their creative ideas to Denver Comic Con.
Enter new worlds with Virtual Ability, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization that enables people with a wide range of disabilities by providing them a supporting environment to enter and thrive in online through virtual worlds like Virtual Ability Island, Cape Able Island, and Cape Serenity. Within these virtual worlds, users can explore residential simulations, libraries, wellness centers, reading rooms, and community auditoriums.
Explore new careers with the University of Colorado—Colorado Springs, which offers a Bachelor of Innovation degree in Game Design and Development. The Bachelor of Innovation in Game Design and Development (GDD) provides students with a firm foundation in the basics of game design and development while also giving them the flexibility to pursue their special interests through concentration courses. In addition, students will learn the business and communication background required for working effectively in the interdisciplinary teams that are the norm in game design and development. The Bachelor of Innovation in Game Design and Development gives students the technical, business, and communication background to work on innovative game design and development projects.
Also from Colorado Springs comes DaVinci Coders, a unique adult education program founded by DaVinci Institute, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, education based, futurist think tank. With coding classes never larger than a dozen students, DaVinci Coders simulates real-world programming environments that mirror some of the top companies in the IT industry. Not only does DaVinci Coders teach the fine art of writing code, they also offer students valuable tools including a professional working portfolio, mock job interviews, mentor relationships, and a professional membership to the DaVinci Institute’s professional networking group.
Denver Comic Con is pleased to welcome broadcaster and science buff DasValdez. This entertaining and popular gamer uses the space sciences simulator Kerbal Space Program to teach family-friendly concepts concerning space travel, weight, measurements and orbit calculations in order to highlight the science behind this wildly entertaining game.
Fancy using virtual worlds to create things in the real world? Come down to the E.D.G.E. Expo and visit SketchUp, a 3d modeling platform that can create a three-dimensional model of just about anything. Even better, the company offers its products to schools and nonprofits at deeply discounted rates, and gives its 3D drawing tool SketchUp Make to anybody, for free.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is the next great frontier in education, and one Boulder-based company is helping teachers use robots to help teach kids about a wide variety of topics ranging from robotics, programming and engineering to biology and computational thinking. Modular Robotics uses robots that drive, crawl, slither and glow to help kids, teachers and parents access their inner inventors.
Finally, Denver Comic Con’s E.D.G.E. team is honored to welcome the developers behind the wildly creative indie game That Dragon, Cancer. This heart-rending game is based on the experiences of Ryan and Amy Green, whose son Joel was diagnosed with terminal cancer when he was just one year old. This determined kid survived four more years before eventually losing his fight with the disease. The game is designed to let players experience the low and high moments from Joel’s life, using the video game medium to provide interactivity and immersion. In telling the story of Joel’s life, That Dragon, Cancer becomes a unique adventure that allows players to relive memories, share grief, and discover the overwhelming hope that can be found in the face of death.
This is just a small sampling of the hundreds of creative ventures to explore at the E.D.G.E. Expo at Denver Comic Con. Keep following us on Facebook and Twitter (#DCCEDGE) to learn more about tabletop gaming, maker faires, toy makers, 3D printing, alternative education, and more! We’ll see you in the bot fighting arena! (Totally a real thing).