MOSES LAKE — The game seemed simple enough.
You’re a Black Ninja, and you have to navigate a cavernous environment of obstacles and walls, climbing and jumping. It has an old school feel — Mario Brothers or Donkey Kong — and occasionally you’ll run into a White Ninja.
Or two. Or three.
Careful of his blade, though. You’re as vulnerable as he is. One slice, and you’re done.
Just like I was. After about a minute and a half, though to be honest, much of that time was spent trying to figure out which combination of keys made it possible to climb walls.
“We usually go to nationals,” said Andy Saldana, a sophomore in the game programming course. “We’re that good.”
The game was just one of several created by programming students at the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center, and proudly shown off during a Tuesday night open house.
Game programmers, nursing students, culinary students, cosmetologists, business students, carpenters and machinists — all showing off their skills to parents and a few students from the area looking to see if CB Tech might be a good place to study.
Another game, Taskmaster, is an unnerving exercise in trying to do more than two things at once. I don’t multi-task well, certainly not with both hands doing different things, and the speed at which I failed at the game was proof of that.
“We took ninth with that,” Saldana said.
Shay Cardona, a sophomore in the game program, said that coding was difficult at first but it’s since gotten fun. She’s also found an outlet for her artistic side in the game writing program, since the world inside a video game — and everything in that world — needs to be created.
“I’m using polygons to create 3D models,” she said. “I can make animals, add realistic fur and shading. I’d like to be a special effects artist.”
Cardona also wrote some of the music that goes along with the games students create here.
“School sucks and then you get to come here,” Cardona said of CB Tech. “People get to do stuff they enjoy.”
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.