Startup of the Month: VIDEO GAME DESIGN CLUB


The Next Generation of Kids in Tech?!

Video Game Design Club is a Huntsville-based startup that offers an ongoing educational experience for pre-teens and young adults interested in making video games from scratch.  In addition to messing with real code, VGDC focuses on real world education about graphic design, animation, creative writing, audio engineering, and logistical mechanics for an immersive end-to-end curriculum that is designed to get kids from novice to well-versed experts within their own individual skill sets.

Local programmers and game designers help with instruction during VGDC’s two-hour weeknight sessions. Additionally, a monthly Saturday Network Party brings together all the designers to play video games and work on projects.

“We want to help kids be well-rounded designers as opposed to just coders,” says Lead Instructor Carl Holden. “We also believe that game design should be part of the STEM curriculum as opposed to just a fun extracurricular activity.”

After hearing about some high schoolers teaching younger kids about basic HTML, Carl began thinking about offering video game instruction in a three-week summer camp setting. Many parents were excited about the possibility of coding education in Huntsville, but most preferred classes on a monthly basis.

Two hundred people showed up to an open house, resulting in 26 registrations for video game design classes. VGDC was born – and Huntsville’s techy startup scene added a unique new contour.

“If we want Huntsville to be a startup city, we need to do more than government, aerospace, and application startups,” Carl says. “Huntsville has all the makings of a city that could support game design – artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and nerds – it’s all there. We need to cultivate the next generation of young creative, tech-savvy kids.”

So why teach kids to make video games? Why not just teach coding?

“Because kids still have an imagination,” Carl says. “They've got about 10 years of creative genius before adulthood hits them. Video games are the great equalizer for bridging people together. You can play a game with people who don't speak the same language as you, or have the same values as you. It's an art form that is transcendent and so new that we're just figuring out its potential. We've been painting and writing for a long time as a human species, but interactive media is a bold new world to explore.”

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This content was proudly produced by the curators of The Collective Ambition within Urban Engine.