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10-year-old Machado creates demo Pac-Man video game

10-year-old Machado creates demo Pac-Man video game

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Playing video games is a popular hobby among children. But Machado Joseph is more interested in creating them.

The 10-year-old pupil of the St Mary’s Roman Catholic School created a demo of the classic video game Pac-Man, while attending the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) summer programme.{{more}}

Machado, who is set to begin grade six in September, told SEARCHLIGHT a bit of what went into creating the game.

He said while attending STEM, he was introduced to a programme called ‘Scratch’ by director of STEM Petrus Gumbs.

“While we were using Scratch, Sir (Gumbs) told us to make an animation about James and a dragon. After we built the animation, I wondered if we could build games, so I went on Youtube and I watched a video.

“I tried creating one of my own and this is how I made the Pacman demo,” Machado revealed, while inquiring minds flocked to his table to see what he was doing.

Pac-Man is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan on May 22, 1980. It was created by Japanese video game designer Toru Iwatani.

According to Machado, the game is centred around Pac-Man, a tiny creature who eats tiny dots through a maze.

He said while he has got most of the main elements of the game out of the way, he still has a bit more work to complete his project.

Machado, who has his eyes on a career designing video games, said it was not that difficult to create and it only took him about one hour.

“I just watched the Youtube video and followed instructions closely. I’ve heard of the game recently and watched it in cartoons. It only took me a long time to get the background of the game, but everything went smoothly,” the bright youngster said.

Meanwhile, Gumbs said the programme ‘Scratch’ was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to do programming.

“We just gave them the basic knowledge. To find out a couple days after, he was bugging me to see, but I was so caught up, I didn’t get the chance to look at it,” Gumbs said.

He recalled one night he was at home and decided that he had to take a look at what Machado had been asking him to view.

“When I looked at his work, it was nothing short of amazing. Using this simple programme, he was able to create his own Pac-Man game. That is beyond the scope that we taught them,” Gumbs said of Machado, who before STEM, had no training in programming.

Still in awe of Machado’s accomplishment, Gumbs said he contacted the youngster’s father to ask some questions.

“I could not believe he was able to do it. I asked his dad what was his level of IT skills. He told me it was not too much and that he did a little certificate in little networking. I asked what about his mom and he said, she’s even worse than me,” Gumbs chuckled.

“He asked why I am asking him all of this and I told him that Machado presented this application and I want to know if anyone helped him. His father said no.”

Gumbs noted that Machado brought back the project to him and they went over ways in which they could tweak the game to make the best end product.

“He’s 10 and to see that he’s able to do this kind of thing is amazing. That’s just what the whole STEM programme is about and Machado is just one of the few,” he stated.

He said one cannot just look at Machado’s accomplishment and say that it was easy.

“A lot of work and reasoning went into what he did. He has to reason. He has to logically create this and use his math to do what he did. And this is just a few of the things that we did,” Gumbs pointed out. (KW)

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