Gotta code it all!

In response to an essay on why console gaming does not bode well for raising future generations of hackers, Mike Sugarbaker hits upon an idea of pure molten genius: a pokemon-style collecting game, where what is collected traded and battled with is code:

“Instead of blocks, cards. Instead of Pokemon or collectible monsters and magic items on the cards, commands. Or types of loops, or even objects with multiple slots for properties and other commands. That’s right, I said collectible programming commands. Make the powerful, difficult-to-grasp ones rare, have some server-mediated market for getting them, and provide an anime-like story shell about being the greatest hacker. Then just let the kids loose and let ‘em fight each other with code.”

This is just fantastic.

Instead of Fred Harris and Ian McNaught-Davis in cosy, chunky jumpers, I imagine the next generation would want a hyperkinetic saturday morning show full of begelled young turks and turkesses in directional topshop clothing gunging youngsters who have careless with their memory handling.

Alice, Tom and the other BBC skunkworks-types should be on the phone to Mike today to ask where they should throw the money to make this happen.

6 comments
  1. tom said:

    Well, you’d have to pin down the style of language a little, but that’d be awesome. I’m seeing Objects as Final Fantasy VII-style-weapons, with Materia-style slots for methods and attributes. Then it’s easy to trade the methods and attributes as well as the objects. Maybe Rare Objects – like data-persisting ones – could have some methods built in.

    And yeah, the rarities work nicely – foreach-style loops shlud be rarer than if loops. You can build the former with the latter… you just need more cards.

  2. misuba said:

    Hey thanks!

    As for C-Jump, it looks at first glance like an attempt to take an innocuous game about skiing, and throw code in your way until nothing is fun anymore anywhere in the world ever. Most educational games make the mistake that C-Jump makes; the stuff to be learned ends up feeling like an obstacle at best, and punishment at worst.

    A skiing game should feel like skiing, but without the cold and physical exertion; a hacking game should feel like hacking, but correspondingly less work and more fun. The trick is to avoid taking a game that feels like hacking, and turning it into hacking, which I would argue is what happened in Core Wars.

  3. matlock said:

    Funny you should mention it, Matt, as someone in my team is developing an ‘innovation top trumps’ game at the moment, as a way of helping people structure and share ideas. not quite what you mentioned, but interesting, nonetheless.

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