Rock, Paper, Shotgun

How a NASA-hosted game jam courted the imagination and enthusiasm of the video game generation

How a NASA-hosted game jam courted the imagination and enthusiasm of the video game generation

At some point, everyone wanted to be an astronaut when they grew up. But now, engineers are keeping their sights set a little closer to home, and NASA has lost their attention. What's a struggling goverment body to do when no one wants to go into space anymore?

Video games.

This piece is an amazing look at how NASA is co-opting games into their designs to make the space program fun and exciting again. It's clear that this isn't some gimmick, and it sounds like NASA knows what drew people to the field in the first place. The very first quote given from a NASA employee isn't about space and engineering degrees, it's about exploration.

Make sure to also check out some of the games created from the game jam; I particularly enjoyed Nostros for its messages centering around Earth and how humanity needs to take care of home before it can take care of other planets.

When I was in high school, I participated in a Space Settlement Design Competition, held at Johnson Space Center. We were given roughly 48 hours to come up with a viable settlement design and propose our work to a panel of NASA employees and former astronauts. Those competitions provided some of the best moments of my life, and if NASA's involvement with video games can give kids an experience even half as amazing, I wish them luck.