SUPER SATURDAY:

Young enthusiasts create video games at Kindie Grits

nophillips@thestate.comApril 12, 2014 

COLUMBIA, SC It’s a beautiful day – to play video games.

Teen gamers gathered Saturday at the Richland Library to learn how to design video games as part of the Indie Grits Film Festival's Kindie Grits.

JJ Shephard, a self-described game maker and boom box enthusiast – he also is a PhD candidate at the University of South Carolina – offered step-by-step instructions for nine teenagers.

By the end of the two-hour session, Shephard expected the class to have created its own game. The game had a magnificent title: “Ultra Meatball Chucker xTreme Gaidan Saga.” The players would throw spicy meatballs at hungry construction workers to score points.

Shephard taught the class the basics of art and computer programming, two skills needed by video game designers. He also discussed physics.

“We are all meatball designers,” Shephard said once everyone had a ball of ground beef floating on their screens.

Indie Grits continued Saturday with the Hip Hop Family Festival on Main Street and two sessions of the Spork-in-Hand Puppet Slam at the Nickelodeon theater.

Shephard told his students that he wanted to teach them the highest level of programming that he could.

“Y'all are not stupid poo-baddies,” he said. “You can get this.”

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