Her Steam Game Is Off to a Good Start
Seven-year-old Penny McDonald just made her first game, Answer The Question, which was released on Steam this week. She was inspired by the recent project by her dad Lance McDonald, who is an independent game developer. After learning on a Windows 98 PC with Quick Beginner’s All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (QBASIC), she created her game, which is an infinite cascade of math problems that award points to the player for answering correctly.
Although Steam probably wouldn’t have accepted this kind of game years ago, its current library is full of slapdash products that make a kid’s first game seem much more professional. Not only that, Penny’s dad Lance has a toolchain for porting Windows 98 QBASIC games to modern systems and adding Steam achievements.
“She also uses that computer to play The Sims a lot, so she’s comfortable with it,” Lance said. The only roadblock was the initial rejection due to the game’s Steam page, which they said needed a better logo.
“Valve asked if we redesign the logo to please say ‘Answer The Question’ in full, for cases where the logo is present without context,” Lance said. “Penny came home from school the next day and drew a new logo, which they approved within 24 hours.”
Answer The Question currently has 9/10 with 67 positive reviews.
“It’s fun to laugh at the reasons we do or don’t like games, and the arbitrary things we use to decide that one game is more valid than another,” said Lance. “Penny’s game is a fun paradox in that it’s the complete opposite of an asset flip, being wholly hard-coded and running entirely on the CPU, but people will still probably find a way to dismiss it as ‘not a real game’ based on some silly technical reason.”
Penny wants to make more games, with her end-goal being an action game.
“Yes, I do want to make games, and until I learn how to make an action game, I am going to make a game where you can think about the game in your head while you type what you want to do,” she said.