The concept of Josh’s World, a children's computer game,
evolved from several different sources. The real world Joshua in the game is the
six year old version of the one year old boy I cared for ten months while his
mother, Michelle Blackmon, an actress, performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
in 1996. Being a single mother in the performing arts required many hours away
from her child. Hence, I became Joshua’s other Mama.
Talking to my husband
one afternoon after Joshua had left with his mother for Seattle, we were reminiscing
about our time with Joshua and missing him terribly. Having raised a daughter
who was now a teenager, Joshua had brought us back to those magic years of the
My husband, who had his own computer company and had worked
in the computer gaming world, was at the time offering a practicum to college
students in multimedia production. He mused about producing an interactive CD-ROM
game for young children, but he wanted it to be unique, capturing the wonder and
curiosity of the young child. I had been a computer teacher in an elementary school
and I knew what piqued children's interest. It definitely wasn't the “drill and
practice” software that flooded the market at the time. The kind of software that
interested them were open ended games encouraging them to become actors rather
For the young child play is imperative. Being a pre-school
teacher before starting a family, I observed their play. Games were a big part
of their play. I discovered that games helped a child learn in a wonderful effective
manner. For when a child sits down and plays a well-designed and interesting game,
the child relaxes and concentrates at the same time. He or she relaxes because
the game is entertaining and concentrates because the game is challenging. A child
who simultaneously relaxes and concentrates is in a perfect frame of mind for
We both agreed that we wanted to create a magical 3D world for
these little people where they could explore different environments and at the
same time offer options to those children who preferred to play games.
At the time, an associate of my husband's, a 3D artist who was between projects,
expressed interest in our project. My husband asked him if he'd like to create
an environment for the young child. He came up with the first few huts which would
later become part of Josh’s World.
Then along came Bart Platt and Kelly
Rossi who worked two terms together designing what was to become in the final
production the night side of Josh’s World. Bart continued working on Josh’s World
through his senior year coming up with a complete game design. What we needed
now was a programmer.
Enter Larry Vaughn, a 3D artist and programmer, who
had worked with my husband as a practicum student a few years back. After leaving
college he was hired by a major gaming company and had worked on several titles.
At the time, he was between jobs and looking for a project he could sink his teeth
With the collaboration of these two talented young men, my husband
and myself, young Joshua and his mother, and all those other practicum students
who learned multimedia production while building on our dream, we came up with
what is now “Josh’s World.”
While filming Joshua in Seattle, his mother,
who has done a lot of film work and theatre commented on how smoothly everything
was coming together. “I guess this was meant to be,” she said with a grand smile.
She was right. Welcome to Josh’s World, an African American children's computer
Best personal regards,
Microcomputer Resources, Inc.
P.O. Box 267
Tel: (541) 547-5418