(or – “What I have really been doing these past few years”)
a brand new virtual world
Production over the past 2 years, by two guys and a gal, weathered 4 production babies, the financial crisis and empty pockets – and still, our steely determination has finally brought our project – Tinkatolli – to a bit of fruition. It’s nearly ready for beta testing.
At Nordic Game we’ll be meeting and greeting industry folks, handing out our colourful business cards and shouting out about our TinkaMaker and social media linkups: TinkAbout It (our Tinkatolli blog), Twitter and Facebook, as a bit of a preview.
Let me tell you a bit about why this is so cool.
Creative tinkering – for real
Personally, I have the pleasure of doodling, thinking up, drawing, animating and inventing the world online, on my computer; and then I turn to my sketchbook, my box of household junk – break out the scissors, tape and string, and start actually making stuff. Out of junk.
This is very liberating. No worries about wasting expensive (or mildly expensive) materials on a project you aren’t totally sure of – it’s already waste! Just go for it.
For the whole of my career only a handful of people (outside of my industry) have actually understood what I do for a living. Folks know I draw, and that it has to do with computers, but the understanding drops off from that point. This project unites my creative production online, as it has been the past decade and a half, with real-life production – offline. I can now actually hold something in my hands that I have made for “work”. I don’t have to be connected to the internets to show my Granny what I have done. The “thing” I make gets documented with photos and videos, and then eventually drawn into the world and made into an instructional PDF. This project, on a whole, brings into play all the areas I got into the business for in the first place. Finally I get to really work with real multimedia. And that, for me, makes it so I can’t really get bored. There’s always something to design, draw, write about, photograph and video, and if there happens to be a lull, that means it’s time to think up something new.
I love it.
Sustainability in a virtual world
It’s recycling. Pretty simple. Tinkatolli uses the junk you have thrown away to make toys, games and fun with. This is something I get excited about. Being a young divorced dad with two energetic boys and living in the city, we’d almost always have to plan a trip to Toys’R'Us every week, for something to do, and for them to at least drool over the latest doodad their friends at daycare had (Pokemon was big, Dragonball, some goofy bean thingys that actually had cool characters printed on them – so much stuff). Just GOING there seemed to appease the little rugrats, in itself. I was pretty strict about not buying every piece of crap plastic they saw, and usually cracked out the pencils, paper or LEGO instead. But the pressure was there to provide a steady flow of doodads and fun -and that could cost a bundle, or a load of energy.
Admittedly I didn’t have the energy all the time. During our apartment moves, I’d always have to go through the old toys, and see what would have to go the way of the bin this time, since the boys had outgrown them, and we didn’t have room to store them. All that broken down, tangeld mess of plastic that was so important to have in the moment, shoved into a box and forgotten the next moment. Why? Because those little guys had nothing invested in the toys. They hadn’t bought them, they hadn’t had to care for them, and they certainly couldn’t have made them themselves.
Making things turns that cycle on its head.
Kids make their own fun, and learn how to think creatively.
Once a kid makes a thing – it’s theirs. They might forget about the thing in the long run, but they won’t forget the experience of making, nor the feeling of accomplishment having made something cool and fun. Creativity has long been pidgeonholed as being something creative people are born with, not a skill. I think it IS a skill, one that you get better at – by doing – by trying and failing, and trying again. Doing the action over and over again, demystifies the creative ability, and turns it into a skill, like any other.
I never learned how to dance- but I do it. I look funny doing it, I annoy and embarrass friends when I do it- but I do it a lot. Some folks even think I’m pretty good. I wouldn’t enter a competition or anything, but I have been known to take the floor. I do enjoy a party dance. On TInkatolli we give kids the chance to make their mark in the world they are a part of. They can invent, make, and document their offline creations, upload it to the game – and show off their creations for all the other kids to see and vote on. The best ideas get made on Tinkatolli and turned into activities for all the kids to make. It’s like a school dance – they can take over the dancefloor, without feeling they are entering a judged competition… it’s just their pals looking on, and cheering. It’s not about being the best, necessarily – but having a go at it. Show and tell.
Tinkatolli is a labour of love, and a passionate subject for me. It embodies a lot of good stuff I think kids should be exposed to – creativity, environmental awareness, fun and games, doodling and creativity, funny quirky characters, motion, science and health and it empowers them to shape their own fun time.
Sounds good, eh? I could go on about how instilling creative thinking and innovation, environmental awareness, good eating habits, daily exercise, and social skills are beneficial to your child, and help shape them into well rounded individuals – but I’ll suffice to say; “It ROCKS!”
Go on – give it a try;)