PTECH students demonstrate their board game making skills

Bryen Belknap, standing, demonstrates the new game he created for Foothills PTECH Principal Christopher Murphy and fellow student Anthony Tybor Tuesday at PTECH’s Academy of Computer Science & Game Arts at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald-Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Freshman students enrolled in Foothills PTECH’s Academy of Computer Science & Game Arts at Johnstown High School got a chance to show off their personal creativity with their latest board game creations.

Students recently have been creating a modified version of the board game “Clue!”, based on a book of their choosing. On Tuesday, the ninth graders got an opportunity to showcase and demonstrate their games for PTECH staff and the public.

JHS Media Specialist Dylan Thomarie, a PTECH gaming instructor, said the exercise helps the students “gain confidence” by demonstrating what they offer to the gaming world.

Eight tables were set upn at JHS with different themes, including J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “Conviction.” The students had to have read the novel they based their game on.

“This a great opportunity for the kids to share what they’ve been working on,” said Foothills PTECH Principal Christopher Murphy.

Thomarie said the games created by the students were essentially variations of the game Clue!

, a murder mystery game for three to six players that was devised by Brit Anthony E. Pratt. Clue! was first manufactured in 1949, and the object of the game is to determine who murdered the game’s victim, where the crime took place, and which weapon was used.

PTECH students on Tuesday demonstrated and “pitched” their version of the game. The scenario that they are working through is that this project is part of an interview process for a game developer job.

Local members of the business community were invited to come in and play these student versions of the game and offer feedback, including Century Linen.

Thomarie said students needed a novel as part of their ELA studies, so that was incorporated into this board game exercise.

Murphy said the board game creations based on books and Clue! are great examples of “project-based learning” for students. The principal said the exercise also offers an interactive component that is valuable for the students involved. During the demonstrations, students who created the games sat with other Foothills PTECH students to play the games through this special learning process.

“You want to find out whose missing in this group,” explained game creator/student Bryen Belknap.

Student Layne Pessolano, who was playing with Julius Brown, used a variation of the dragon in “The Hobbit” for his project.

“I put this into the game,” he said.

Student Patrick Clemence, who used “The Lord of the Rings” theme, said he hopes his studies will help him get a job someday.

“I like fact we can use creativity and it helps out in our art,” he said.

Students in the BOCES Foothills PTECH are trying to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree along with their high school diploma at no cost to their families. They can choose pathways between two areas — Computer Science & Game Arts, or Health and Medical Sciences. The Academy of Health and Medical Studies is located at the former Meco School in Gloversville.

The idea for PTECH, officials say, is to do projects and courses that focus on subject areas that interest the student the most. Students in the Foothills PTECH attend classes at their particular PTECH location and Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Kerry Minor

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