A portable games console with a fun to use game editor/IDE and nothing else. Can only play games that were made by the device owner, or a nearby device owner they're hanging out with. Give these to all of the children and simply don't ever tell them about the big bad world outside.

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Issue: Are they able to copy games between devices?
if yes: Then they're going to end up playing games they get from other households that they don't directly know the authors of.
if no: Then they can't really collaborate on the games very well which is sad.

Maybe just let them copy but make sure they understand the point of it: you get to participate in a creative ecosystem, you get to make your own games.

Update: Nintendo are doing it (probably not the restriction parts, maybe one day)

Oh!! :O "It looks like there's not going to be a good online sharing component in the game, it looks like you have to exchange friend codes"

@ciel Please no teach the children to start their array indexes at 1

@eli_oat I don't feel like Pico-8 would be able to do it. It seems too limited. I'm looking into gamepad support and it looks like it only supports the left analogue stick for some reason??

I'm worried it might be kind of difficult to convince a kid who's never seen a commercial video game that there's fun to be had in these spaces? Too difficult if all we have is 128x128 pixels? And then they would not lrn2code, and then they would not take control of their digital existence, and then dystopia

@faun How would they figure out what they can do with it if they don't have game ideas to emulate as a starting pont for learning?

@dualhammers To figure this out, I feel like we have to ask how it is that children invent games at all, before video games existed, and oh no there are a lot of really enormous cultural development problems in here

@dualhammers Ignoring those: Maybe giving them components of games that they can easily plug together into something that moves, and then they will see it and ask "what is this, what does this represent, what can I play at with this"

The components are never complete, everything starts bare and unskinned and as open-ended as possible. Some cultures might resolve that skinning anything at all is unnecessary, they all know what the game is, they don't need patronising art assets to explain it.


Probably cannot answer any of those questions without first answering the big ones you're ignoring. :)

@dualhammers I think we could make a Compelling Experience without confronting the purpose of play (game designers do it every day), but we shouldn't, and I wont, never again.

@faun So what are you doing insead? (I honestly have no idea what you do as a primary activity / profession)

@dualhammers Making a game that *does* confront the purpose of play (but in adults, hence my not knowing some the answers for kids)

Mainly right now working on a tabletop game, Witching Lands, where we may learn about systems of optimisers, that don't have to fight, and the foundational civics that comes of that.

And a puzzle game for learning about pattern recognition


That's pretty cool. When you have a prototype of that game I'd be up to test it with you in Table TOp simulator

@dualhammers In two minds about TTS. On the one hand, it's unrelatably janky, they don't pay game designers a good cut, on the other hand, I wouldn't expect to sell through it anyway, the jank seems fun and hilarious (watched yesterday)

@faun Yeah I wouldn't try and sell anything through but it's good for prototyping!

@dualhammers I'm also worried that if I don't enjoy it in TTS I'll internalise this too deeply and come to feel like I wont enjoy it with physical stuff in the same room as people and lose motivation. Hmm I'll ask keith burgun if anything like that happened to him when he was prototyping dragon bridge. Not sure if it's just a problem I have or if it's a problem everyone has and is just less aware of what's happening to them.

@faun If you lose motivation because of that it's a mistake in judgement - because you're right it could be fun with tactile elements. That's why you should do it both ways and see

@dualhammers I wonder if there's an exercise I can do to teach my inner dogs to see always through the roughness of drafts to the perfection that lies beyond them, to keep them from abandoning the trail prematurely. I don't have one yet, though.

@dualhammers Starting experiments with a method of writing down all of the reasons I think the thing is objectively good and important and then having someone I respect and admire read it back to me. I've written the documents for my collaborators but so far nobody has autonomously read it back to me, I might have to explicitly ask.

@faun Asking for things is important, although requiring some outside person to help motivate you does sound like a severe limitation

@dualhammers It is. It is, although this is a limitation that I *am* quite sure everyone has. The amount of energy a person can focus without some form of higher Authorisation is very limited. Most people receive authorisation from their role models or their community, some, rare, receive authorisation from imagined deities, although it is arguable that the deity model coalesces mostly from a community's teachings, sometimes a bit of schizophrenia is involved

@faun How do you know this is true? Seems a big conclusion.

@dualhammers I suppose "higher authorisation" might not intuitively characterise all external sources of motivation, they are not all noble, for instance, the one where a tom moves mountains to get something just cause one random pretty was nice to them once and asked for it

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@faun Nintendo and online services... Always ready to deliver stellarly on the premises, but also kinda disappoint on the basics :'D

I love that you can see how the UI is an evolution of Nintendo Labo and Mario Maker. I remember that when Labo was released, I called exactly this: that they were making a games-making toolkit of sorts.

Looking forward to what people will make with this!

@raelzero Famed youtube Nintendo fan and puppet, Arlo, noted that he failed to call it and is ashamed.

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