Speaking with the Head of English at Falcons Boys school, I thought it would be good to build a presentation focusing on the creativity in storytelling, games and entertainment as a whole. What started out as a great way to inspire kids quickly turned into an actual study and brainstorming creation session.
I built a presentation starting with a short quiz using PAC-MAN and our iconic Tamagotchi IPs as examples of successful creations. They knew PAC-MAN straight away – as with over 96 per cent awareness rate across the world it’s great to have a connection to the beloved character.
I then took them through an entertaining journey through the 1950s and how families digested entertainment, TV, how kids made their own creative playground games using wheels on shoes, old school conkers and how things have changed over the decades, especially focusing on the 70s and 80s. This involves computing and console history, graphic engines and how something like Star Wars has evolved from simple yet addictive Vector graphics into what is seen today.
I showcase how technology has moved on With games like Air Combat to Ace Combat, how a company like Bandai Namco Entertainment has been part of that journey since the 50s through arcade, home gaming, creating IP, toys and theme park experiences.
They are then presented with how a company like ours runs, how there are many roles in our industry for all levels of talent and future talent!
Then they’re shown a historic video of PAC-MAN using music and references from the 80s to the present day and how innovative products like Amazon Echo has inspired us to create new children’s adventures called ‘PAC-MAN Stories.’ These demonstrate positive fun for children, allowing them to be part of the story, learn, make good decisions, help others, save the planet, eating healthily and engage in sporting activities.
I explain that a simple game model of collecting power pellets by making food decisions is a clever design choice for a voice activated platform.
That historic PAC-MAN video then sets them up for their task ahead, which is to create their very own character(s), environment, synopsis, backstory etc. that would work for a new game created by them. PAC-MAN’s successful history as the world’s most famous character inspires them on their creations.
The class work in teams exploring each other’s skills from writing, drawing, design and presenting plus their game must be safe and they need to think about innovation and modern technologies available with some basic business included (how they would market their game, how they would invest money in talking to others). The results have been fantastic, fun, interesting and it’s great seeing some groups put the extra effort in.
We have seen new planets created, new eco-warrior superheroes, puzzle games, videos, drawings and all sorts and I truly believe we should be inspiring kids to learn from our experience and motivate them in all potential future roles in the business: Finance, marketing, events, social media, sales, distribution, localisation, publishing, acquisition and development are all roles kids can look forward to. I see kids with so many different skills and this industry welcomes them all and this excites them.
I’ve rolled this out in the Falcon’s Boys school for three years, as well as St Margaret’s School Sussex, British School in the Netherlands and Coopers School in Kent. One of the greatest things is seeing the kids working together in teams and also experiencing them presenting up front and the obvious positivity they demonstrate.
Lee Kirton is the PR and marketing director & PAC MAN Sub Officer for EMEA at Bandai Namco Entertainment. Kirton is also an ambassador for charity SpecialEffect.