In 1982, my parents bought a Commodore 64 for our family. At first, I just played games - from a cartridge, or from a tape drive. But I soon understood that this machine could be programmed, which meant you could write your own games. But what game should I write?
Luckily, my local library had the answer, in the form of books with titles like “Computer Space Games” and “Write your own Adventure Programs”. These books contained full code listings for simple games. Each game was illustrated with vibrant pictures that fired the imagination… which was a good thing, because the games themselves were incredibly simplistic, and usually text based.
But, the promise of a game where you blew up space aliens or slew a dragon was enough to convince you carefully transcribe the code, line by line… until you had a game that you had written all by yourself!!
And thus was set the direction for my entire career.
I’m not the only person who had this experience.. Many of today’s tech professionals were inspired by the Usborne computing books they read as children. So much so, that Usborne has provided PDFs of those old programming books of my youth.
Today, I have children of my own. Instead of huddling over a Commodore 64 with it’s “38911 BASIC BYTES FREE”, they have phones, tablets and laptops, each of which have several orders of magnitude more computing power.
And, I’m a part of a worldwide computer language community - the Python community. Python is a marvellous language - simple and clear enough to be used as a teaching language, but powerful enough to be used to drive high traffic websites like Instagram, for scientific data analysis, for financial trading, and much more.
This project is my attempt to resurrect this period of my youth, and bring to my children (and others) the joy that I had as a 7 year old, writing games - but in the language that I now use as an adult.