*Microsoft has teamed with Warner Bros. for a coding-education campaign tied to the 2021 release of the movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy” starring NBA star LeBron James.
The campaign, which runs through Dec. 30, is calling on fans to submit ideas for an original Xbox arcade-style video game. Two winners will have their creations turned into arcade-style games that will be available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in 2021, per geekwire.com.
As noted on the Xbox news site, the prize package also includes: Winners’ names featured in the game credits; an exclusive winner’s bundle with signed and authenticated LeBron James memorabilia, Space Jam: A New Legacy merchandise and Nike VIP packs, and a personalized Xbox Series S console; a private friends and family screening of the film; and a virtual Microsoft coding workshop for their local community.
James and Bugs Bunny promoted the new film in an Instagram post (see clip below).
View this post on Instagram
Here’s a summary of the film and tie-in with Microsoft:
In this film, basketball champion and global icon LeBron James goes on an epic adventure alongside timeless Tune Bugs Bunny. When James and his young son Dom – who dreams of being a video game developer – are trapped in a digital space by a rogue AI, James must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the AI’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before.
James is taking on the film role played by Michael Jordan in the original, 1996 version of “Space Jam.”
“We have been asked by learners of all ages around the world for fun and engaging learn-to-code content,” says Margaret Price, a principal strategist at Microsoft who specializes in computer science education and whose team worked on the MakeCode and Learn lessons. “With partnerships like ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ (and others like ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and NASA) to draw a new diverse generation of potential talent into learning these critical and important skills. We start with teaching how to code. But we also teach machine learning and data science through some of these lessons.”
A statement from Xbox reads: “We’re on the hunt for the best fan-submitted video game ideas—the loonier, the better! Starting December 14 through December 30, fans ages 14 and up will be able to submit the game ideas they think will be a slam dunk at the official contest website. All you have to do is review the Official Rules, select the gaming genre of your choosing using a key image and describe your game idea in less than 500 words.”
“One of the things we liked about this partnership is that it aligns with our goals of introducing computer science to kids who would not normally be interested in coding. But we know that most kids love video games, right?” says Jacqueline Russell, a program manager who works on MakeCode. “So if we can tie learning to code to games and creating your own video game, I think that’s super empowering for a lot of kids who play video games every day, but maybe never thought they could create their own.”