Design Story: Older Coders

by Katherine Rowlandson, Kippie

The first computer we had was a zx spectrum + 3

It was revolutionary in that it came with a disc drive, and not a tape player, and you could load games in seconds as opposed to minutes.

It also came with an instruction manual that taught you how to use it’s programming language, Basic. I created my first programme -10 PRINT “CAROLINE SMELLS’ 20 GO TO 10.

This resulted in a never ending scroll of CAROLINE SMELLS printed on our TV screen (you could hook the speccy up to your telly)!

I had written a computer programme to insult my sister, and it was great.

That sense of fun, confidence and freedom I had to play around and experiment is what we want to recreate with our older coders. 

As computers have become exponentially more powerful, and more capable of doing amazing things, the easier it is to become intimidated by them. The wonder of ‘What happens if I press this?’ becomes ‘I’m scared to touch that in case I break it’.

Gamemaker is a programme that encourages ‘What happens if I press that?’ And we are passionate about encouraging people to press that button.

When we make something interactive, whether its a game or a piece of art, we are inviting someone else to involved, to experience our creation, to participate. We are interacting with each other, and that is always a good thing in our book (or Kindle). 

We have had the pleasure of working with many different groups of people to build games, and while yes, it is something you can do on your own, it is also a great way of creating together. Following a Youtube tutorial with a friend or family member and making a game together is incredibly satisfying and fun!

So if you are curious at all about “what happens if I press that button” come along to our workshop, and have some relaxed fun.