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LaPIXEL Teaches Students How to Level Up

July 20, 2018


SHREVEPORT, LA-When you think of video game designers, kids aren’t typically the first ones to come to mind. However, 12 high school students had the opportunity to create and showcase their video game creations this summer with the help of the LaPIXEL program. The program was created in 2016 by Director Allen Garcie, Associate Professor of Digital Arts, Jason Mackowiak, Director of the Digital Arts Program, and Dr. Carlos Spaht, Professor of Mathematics and the Director of LaPREP.

Over a three-week period, students develop critical thinking and technical skills while learning how to use Adobe Photoshop and Game Maker Studio to create their games. Students also learn about creativity, storytelling and the process of creating and refining their own game ideas. At the end of the second week, the students present their game ideas to their classmates and program staff. The students then vote on their favorite games and are put into teams to develop their final games.

The program held its third annual graduation ceremony on Friday, June 29th in the UC Ballroom. The families of the graduates had the opportunity to learn about the program and to play the video games created by the students after the ceremony. In addition to receiving a certificate for completing the program, certain students received awards in the following categories: Overall Game, Game Design, Pixel Pusher and Code Junky.

Lydia Boudreaux, a 2018 graduate, is a 10-year-old student at Caddo Middle Magnet. Boudreaux says she’s always enjoyed playing video games and was frequently told by her mother that she is skillful in art. “I entered LaPIXEL because I thought it would’ve been cool to tell my friends that I created a video game within a short period of time,” said Boudreaux. “I’m proud of where I am now because of this program.”

Boudreaux’s video game is called Blob Fish Below. Players play as a floating cat head character that explores the sea while running away from predators such as crabs, jellyfish and a scuba diver. The player’s mission is to survive three levels in order to save the blob fish.

Boudreaux says she enjoyed the LaPIXEL program because it taught her how to use Photoshop to convert her idea from drawings into a fully realized video game. “I hope to be able to do this program again because it was very fun and interesting,” she said. “I hope to one day be able to continue creating video games and create a game that can be purchased in the app store.” Boudreaux says she’s thankful for the instructors and classmates that helped her along the way.

Garcie believes the program is successful because it teaches students more than just how to create video games, but how to think creatively and critically. “Creating video games is a process that involves teamwork, communication, creativity, storytelling, problem solving, technical know-how and other vital skills that are important for students to learn,” said Garcie. “These skills are not only used every day in the Digital Arts industry, but in all walks of life.”

For more information about the LaPIXEL program or how to enroll a student in next year’s program, contact Professor Allen Garcie at


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Media Contact: Wendell Riley, Director of Media and Public Relations 318-797-5108

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