Arcade Coder challenges kids to design games
Tech Will Save Us – the London-based tech toys company behind the Dough Universe and Light Racer electronics learning kits – has launched a new flagship product on Kickstarter. The Arcade Coder is a modern take on the traditional board game that's designed to give kids the power to create custom games they can play.
With over 2.5 billion video games already available worldwide, there's clearly a need to lay the groundwork for future game designers to learn their trade. Tech Will Save Us says that the aim of the Arcade Coder is to "create an experience that would unleash creativity and teach kids the design process behind the game, rather than continue to fuel the trend for passivity."
"Tech toys tend to lean in to harder skills like math and coding," said the company's Chris Catton. "However, we recognize that skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity are more important for children to master for their future working lives. Understanding how games are designed and mastery of the tools to build new ones provides a unique way to deliver these learning outcomes within a fun and social setting."
The Arcade Coder is aimed at gamers aged 6 years and above, and combines both physical and digital learning experiences. The physical aspect shapes up as a 12 x 12-inch (30.5 x 30.5 cm) board interface topped by 144 multi-colored silicone pads. The digital component comes as a companion app.
The idea is that kids can learn the basics of building their own games from scratch, taking in game mechanics like speed, levels and point systems along the way. They can also learn how to make the LEDs dance using a Painter Mode where kids can create illuminated pictures and animations by tapping into their new coding skills. And they can do it on their own, or with friends and family.
Pre-coded projects for one, two and four players are included for customization out of the box, and the internal LiPo battery should be good for 6 hours of fun per charge. Students new to coding can get started using the Arcade Coder and Games Studio iOS app running on a Bluetooth-paired iPad, which includes video tutorials, projects and challenges to unlock. Skill badges are collected upon completion of projects, and the fun can continue after the in-app content has run dry by signing up for future games, add-ons and activities.
The Kickstarter for the Arcade Coder launched today, where pledges start at £80 (about US$95). If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October. The video below has more.