A whole generation of programmers learned to program by writing — or at least typing in — game programs for relatively simple computers like a TRS-80, a Commodore 64, or any of a handful of similar machines. These days, games are way more complicated and so are computers. Sure, it is more fun to play Skyrim than Snake, but for learning, you are probably going to get more out of starting with a simple game. If you want to learn programming today — or maybe start someone else on that same journey, you should check out Script-8, a project by [Gabriel Florit]. You can get a taste of how it looks in the video below, or just surf over to the site and play or modify a game (hint: press “a” to launch the ball).
Instead of paraphrasing, here’s the excellent elevator speech from the web site:
In some cases, Script-8 might be even better than the old machines. Everything you do causes an immediate reaction. There’s a variety of tools that let you pause and rewind action, a sprite editor, a map editor, and even a music editor.
It is easy enough to copy an existing “cassette” to a blank so you can make changes, so you don’t have to start from scratch, even though you can. Your workspace is 128 pixels square and only shows 8 colors, but that adds to the retro look and feel of the games.