Parent reviews for Gamestar Mechanic

Common Sense says

Grand adventure teaches you to design your own games.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 3 reviews
Parent of a 2 and 6-year-old Written byMr. Walters March 11, 2014

Real 21st Century Skills

Gamestar Mechanic is a study in the concepts behind the basic elements of a game, and how the balance of fun and challenge in games creates flow. It is also concerned with the iteration feedback loop and how games are a complex system designed around creating a satisfying user experience.

Game design is a great jumping off point for introducing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning through the lens of systems-thinking and user-centered design. Working with these complex concepts requires creativity and critical thinking in generous amounts. Basically, students have to figure out how a user is going to interact with a system that hasn't been invented yet. Further, the iterative feedback loop requires collaboration. Gamestar not only provides an excellent and accessible tool for this experience but also includes relevant and comprehensive scaffolding in the form of lessons and activities.

This title contains:

Ease of Play
Parent of a 3 and 6-year-old Written bybjoseph April 18, 2012

Becoming Responsible Game Designers

I would add this to the great things already said about Gamestar Mechanic:
1) In regards to "responsibility and ethics" there are a wide range of game design challenges within the site that ask youth to design games addressing social issues like ending war. Youth who participate in these challenges can learn how to combine their interest in game design with social issues.
2) Unlike other online gaming environments, there is no push to spend more money on virtual items. Once youth have full access to the site, there is no consumerist push to distract them from learning how to design their games.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Privacy & Safety
Adult Written bycjones727 June 8, 2012

Overly Complicated

I registered and played with Gamestar Mechanic. I can't imagine a 10 year old being able to use it and come away with any educational value. There's no pop-up bubbles over the tools that help you build a game and I'm not about to sit down with my child for hours and read a manual like a textbook. Even if I wanted to, I didn't quickly locate a manual or easy help menu when I hit a roadblock. If by chance your kid does have the patience and ability to figure this out, he's destined for engineering school--and top of the class. Maybe I did't get far enough into the game design but the avatars were boring and basic and had no relation to the personal interests and criteria I selected at the start. The interface of the site is overly crowded and the artwork upon entry seems to have no relation to the game your designing.
Gamestar mechanic seems like a great concept but it must be designed by Engineers.
Adult Written byDiEx-80 February 3, 2011

Not perfect, but a small start in game creation for kids

My issue is that this is being pushed as a game creation tool. I have problems with that since it is restricted between monthly subscribers or free users.

If your child wants to learn to make games, there are free tools out on the net that don't need a monthly subscription. Even RPG Maker XP can be a good tool for a budding game designer. If you are wanting a good community, GarageGames is a great community and tools to make 2D & 3D games. (Granted, its $100 for the basic things but are very user friendly)

This title contains:

Educational Value