One day, seven-year-old Penny McDonald asked her father if she could make a video game. Now she has her own development studio and just released her first title on Steam.
“Answer the Question” was published on Steam on August 2 and already has 119 reviews. It’s a simple text-based game in which players are bombarded with maths questions they have to answer for points.
“If you are studying and want to play a game, choose this one this game has added so start playing and get smart,” writes Penny in the description.
Although she has been playing games since she was a toddler, Penny’s current hold on the industry started last July when she asked her developer dad if she could make her own games.
Penny asked if she could make a game so I gave her everything she’ll need. pic.twitter.com/kAVpLw41iI
— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) July 25, 2018
Penny’s dad set her up on an old PC running on Windows 98 and equipped the future coder-extraordinaire with an old QBASIC beginner’s manual.
In just a matter of hours, the little developer was already working on some of the lessons from the book.
Her initial ambition was to create an action-adventure game but she quickly realised the road to superstardom is to be taken one step at a time.
“I wasn’t ready, so I made a different game,” Penny told Kotaku.
Lance McDonald documented Penny’s progress on Twitter posting screenshots of her code and explaining the few instances he stepped in to give her a hand.
The seven-year-old finished development in just a couple of days and asked her dad to help with the next step.
“I thought that, if my family can have this game, why not other people?” she said.
My 7-year-old daughter, Penny, made a game in QBASIC on my old Windows 98 computer and released it on Steam (with my help on that part) and you can read about it in this twitter thread or you can buy it if you want to be a cool friend. https://t.co/Z9DKzT3k6j https://t.co/Tff1nyOvSH
— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) August 2, 2018
The only stumbling block they encountered in their submission was a petition from Valve to redesign the game’s logo.
“Penny came home from school the next day and drew a new logo, which they approved within 24 hours,” said Mr. McDonald to Kotaku.
The game has earned warm, encouraging reviews from users who appreciate the inspiring endeavour from the father/daughter team.
“My 7-year-old son LOVES playing it. So I don’t care whether anyone else thinks it’s “good” or not. And he’s getting great maths practice one week before he goes back to second grade.
“And my son is inspired by the fact that this game was made by someone his age,” commented one user.
“If those weren’t enough reasons to pay a buck, I’d still pay it just to support the awesome dad who’s teaching his daughter that anything is possible.
“I’d still pay it to support a seven-year-old girl’s dream of one day making an action game.”
And well, it’s the internet, so of course, there has to be the occasional self-entitled jerk who had to complain.
“Once my cat was walking on a keyboard. She created a game accidentally. The game of my cat was much better than this. But I decided not to publish it on Steam because I thought that this store has some level of quality.”
But the overwhelming response has been incredibly positive, and according to Penny’s dad, the financial side isn’t looking bad at all.
Penny’s game has sold enough copies to fund the development of another title. 🤣
— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) August 4, 2018