If you build it, they will come! Or, rather, your fans will come because Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage will turn kids into a game building pros.
Perfect for little gamers, Game Builder Garage teaches kids how to design and build their very own video games. That’s right, not only can your kids school you in regular video games, but they’re about to school you in their own video game.
Compatible with any version of Nintendo Switch, Game Builder Garage walks kids through the basics of game designs with palatable, cartoon-led step-by-step instructions. There are two modes to choose from: Free Programming (unlocked after the first lesson) and Interactive Lessons. Guided by Bob — the blue dot who narrates the game — these interactive guide players through seven different styles of games to master the art of game building. Games start with a simple game of tag (Tag Showdown) and range from an alien blasting game (Alien Blaster) to a three-dimensional game called Super Person World (we see what you did there, Nintendo!).
Game Builder Garage begins with a mock-up of a basic video game, where kids must move their avatar up a series of stairs to grab an apple. But the avatar can’t jump: Something is wrong with the game’s programming. Future coders are taken to the backend of the video game where they learn how to connect parts of the game to make the avatar jump. The game is largely like this: The game slowly walks players through every aspect of game building, hopefully adding up to building their own game in Free Programming Mode.
There is a LOT of gameplay in this game. On average, it took me about 40 minutes to work through each lesson, although I have a terrible tendency to not read all the little messages in video games. Kids can spend hours learning and relearning each skill, especially since each lesson is treated as a game. They won’t even know that they’re learning, which we all know is the best way to learn. Although Game Builder Garage is rated E for everyone, I would say that it’s best suited for kids ages 8 and up. There is a lot of reading required (as stated above) that could possibly make little minds wander.
One of my favorite parts of the game are the checkpoints. After each lesson is completed, a new dot named Alice ensures that kids have learned the skill by offering a checkpoint game. Here, players will apply the knowledge they just learned to a new scenario. As someone who needs things explained several times, I love that the game makes sure you understand each concept in a fun way. These knowledge checkpoints are the perfect way to make sure kids are on track to becoming game building experts.
Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage teaches kids the skills they need to build their own awesome, action-packed video games. Priced at only $29.99, this stocking stuffer is a great way to get kids interested in game building and visual programming at an early age. The creative options are endless, begging the question: What will you build?