Posted: February 6, 2014
By REBECCA LAYNE
The Winchester Star
MIDDLETOWN — When instructor Brian Mulvey asked the class if anyone had ever played the 2-D video game Super Mario Brothers, Chris Simonelli smiled knowingly at his father, Mike.
The two were apparently in their element.
On Wednesday, the Frederick County duo attended one of two free digital arts sessions at Lord Fairfax Community College.
The sessions showcased on a smaller scale what the weeklong summer camps, which run from June 20 to mid-August, offer on a larger scale.
Wednesday’s session focused on how to redesign a 2-D video game, including manipulating the artwork, levels, enemies and backgrounds.
“We show them how to basically change everything,” said Mulvey, an instructor with Black Rocket Productions, which partners with the college to teach the camps. “This is a little bit of a taste of what we do.”
The summer camps have been offered for the past four years and include “Make Your First 3-D Video Game,” “Lego Games,” “Code Breakers” and “App Adventures.”
Students can also attend camps on fashion, acting and clay animation.
Wednesday’s event was hosted by LFCC Workforce Solutions and held in the Corron Community Development Center at the Middletown campus.
Chris, an 11-year-old James Wood middle-schooler, signed up for the free session because he participated in and liked the local STARBASE program, which focuses on making science, technology, engineering and math fun.
“I think it will be exciting for him to see what’s out there,” said his father, Mike. “He’s an intelligent kid who does well in school. I think this is a challenge he’ll like.”
When asked how he felt about the class, Chris smiled.
“I’m ready,” he said.
Nathalie Schelin, 10, of Front Royal, attended a session to see what is available in the camps.
“The two camps I’ve done so far have been fun, so I’d like to do another one,” she said.
Aidan Brown, 11, of Page County, wants to learn more about making video games and has already experimented in making games on his computer.
“I just like that I can make it how I want it,” he said. “I like that control. It’s why I like video games more than watching TV.”
The event celebrated the third annual National Digital Learning Day, which promotes digital learning in the classroom.
Those who are interested in signing up for the summer camps should contact Christine Kriz at 540-868-7284 or [email protected].
— Contact Rebecca Layne at [email protected]