You don’t have to have a perfect heart to have a pure one.
This statement is proven by a nine year old boy named Parker, who had recently been undergoing different surgeries to fix his failing heart. He proves he is strong by pushing through his hospital time with a smile on his face and an idea in his head: an idea that is coming true thanks to Make-A-Wish and a special team.
Make-A-Wish always brings great opportunities to children that have spent most of their lives in a hospital bed. They give fun, unique opportunities to kids and allow them to enjoy life to its fullest. Parker’s wish, however, was a little different than average. It needed a larger following of people to complete.
Parker, being 1 of 400 children waiting for a heart transplant, had a lot of free time on his hands during his long hospital visits but was given a chance to put his creativity to the test with an amazing wish that is currently being produced here on campus.
Donna Parker, the vice president for development of Make-A-Wish NH, spoke of how unique Parker was and how his wish was pleasantly different from most they get. She said, “My husband and I are the wish granters and we went down to find out what [the wish was], you know talk to him a little bit, introduce ourselves. [We asked] him what he knew about Make-A-Wish and then asked him what his heartfelt wish was. And so, when we met him, oh my god he was amazing. [He is] a very astute little young man, and he knew exactly what he wanted. He said he wanted to make his own video game.”
Donna, not knowing how to go about making a video game, quickly researched game developers and was quick to choose when she began by speaking to a man named David Carrigg. Carrigg, being one of the head game programming teachers here at SNHU, accepted Parker’s wish almost instantly.
Carrigg quickly pulled some strings and brought Game Design Coordinator Ed Brillant onto the project as they were eager to begin work on making Parker’s wish come true. The two professors worked diligently on the project as Parker kept feeding them new ideas and concepts to add into the game. His imagination never stopped running.
In an interview with Brillant, he explained how Parker’s wish works. “What he does is, he tells us what he wants, and he wants like a Mario Kart-type racing game. He draws all the concepts for it; he does all the design for it. Then we take that, for instance on the art side, he would draw a bunch of little pictures and then I would take the picture that he drew and then turn it into some real concept art. Then he would be like ‘yeah!’ and approve it and say ‘that looks good, I love it!’”
Parker continued as the lead designer and boss of this game development project. Brillant and Carrigg worked as efficiently as they could and tried to keep up with Parker’s flow of ideas and concepts, but two people can only develop a game so fast. They knew they needed help to make the production move faster as Parker’s condition was getting worse and worse.
So, with the help of the new game development studio in Robert Frost Hall, Inkwell Studios, Brilliant and Carigg brought a team of Game Development students on to work on the project. Bringing the project into the studio and allowing these students to work on it provides them with experience as well as time management skills as Parker’s concepts need to be finished at a fast pace. Parker’s wish has been rapidly growing with the addition of an actual team to work with and is even more amazing when he visits and sees the magic being made.
The programmers are given game-play elements and informed on how Parker wants worlds to operate and function before putting it into a working code. These students are given the opportunity to make Parker’s wish come true and see the smile on his face when they develop his characters and worlds into something real, something playable. Parker is also granting these students their wish to be game developers as they gain this real world experience through developing in a studio environment.
Parker has been fortunate enough to receive a heart and go through a successful transplant surgery and is now back to producing more concepts for his game, which is still being developed in the Inkwell Studios here on campus.
This project has been going for almost a year now and is still in full swing. The end is not quite in sight, but no one is in much of a rush to find it anyway.
“Here’s the beauty of this. We don’t have an expected finish and we don’t intend to ever stop working on it. We want to just let Parker keep giving us stuff and just letting this grow and grow and grow…” said Brilliant.
Parker will continue to develop these worlds and characters for as long as he can. He loves to see the progress of his game, and he enjoys being able to use his creativity non-stop while having people make his ideas into something. The students are allowed to use this class time to put their skills to the test and put them to good use in making an actual game that developers may see which can help them on their way to get jobs after college.
Parker’s wish won’t stop giving and neither will the students here at SNHU. Inkwell Studios will continue with the project until Parker wishes to stop giving them ideas, which most likely won’t be any time soon. These developers are able to put their skills to good use and grant Parker his wish, just as he has done for these up and coming game developers.