UPDATE: After one nasty email and a few comments, there is now an accompanying article investigating the allegations against Wilson and her Kickstarter.
Susan Wilson’s 9-year-old daughter, Mackenzie Wilson, launched a Kickstarter to build a computer role-playing game and prove her brothers wrong. As of today the Kickstarter has exceeded $11,000, well past her $829 goal. Kenzie is a well-rounded geek who plays Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and of course video games:
Most people call me Kenzie. I’m 9, in 3rd grade, and I’m getting straight A’s. I’ve always been the tallest person in my class and this year I’m actually taller than my teacher. I love computers, video games, apps, and role playing games – especially Magic the Gathering and Borderlands 2 that I get to play with my Dad (because my 15 & 16 year old brothers are too mean to play with me). But we do have D&D tournaments on the weekends which is cool. My favorite PS3 game right now is Dragon Age II.
Kenzie’s goal is tied to attending a RPG Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) camp for kids 9 to 12-years old for a week. Kenzie has big plans for the game:
As I said in the video, I want to create an RPG that isn’t too violent and isn’t filled with bad words, still has a good story line & cool graphics, but has shorter cut scenes, less menus & fewer controls. And most importantly, I want a game that allows team members to face danger together and get hurt but doesn’t kill team mates off & eliminate them from battle.
The camp Kenzie will attend InternalDrive.com, which features personalized instructions with just 8 kids per adult instructor. Kenzie will be using using RPG Maker®, a massively popular RPG (role-playing game) development tool–user-friendly for beginners, but powerful enough for advanced game developers:
an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, RPG Maker®’s extensive library of characters and tile-based environments will have you creating fantastic RPG worlds, maps and awesome heroes. Take home your custom role-playing game for you and your friends to put to the test! Students will be introduced to the concepts of tiling, pixel art and conditional statements in creating their own top-down 2D RPG. This unique tool allows beginners to create a polished game that includes story dialogue boxes, custom items, and weapons, as well as battles with enemies and bosses.
It’s clear the Kickstarter is for women, not girls, as the shirt rewards are sized for adults. There’s no evidence that Kenzie’s brothers ever actually told her she couldn’t create RPGs. And the Kickstarter video is a little off-putting – it implies that if Kenzie doesn’t get funded she will end up marrying a fat, old, rich jerk.
But the Kickstarter’s goal is certainly worthy, and any effort that helps advance STEM, gaming, and girls is worth the investment. With 28 days to go, the Kickstarter is likely to add more rewards. Here’s hoping they shift from helping Kenzie to helping all girls interested in game design.
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