So Boom! Mozilla Festival (Mozfest) just happened. And Hackable Games from being a seed of a somewhat unclear idea went to super blasting with playable prototypes Ravesbourne’s 8th floor. It was three amazing days and my post-MozFest tired brain will do it’s best to capture all that went on in the Hackable Games planet.
Umm… so what are Hackable Games again?
Let’s start with the basics; If you are a gamer, you know that games are awesome interactive experiences. They engage us in hours of obsessing over things like throwing …Angry Birds, shooting Portals in walls and building weird looking Minecraft landscapes. They bring us together online and offline and fuel our imagination in unique ways.
But in their majority games are closed systems. It’s a “play and move to the next game" kind of experience. Not to mention that game platforms such as consoles and phones place anything between the code that makes the game and the game play experience, hidden in a black box of fear (most likely connected to the super brain of the Megazords who made it).
Hackable Games are Open Systems
So what if we looked at the web as an open gaming platform. And what if we looked at games that like the web itself are hackable by design; games that let their players fork the code and customize the assets in order to create new games.
Games that empower players to become makers of games and learn how to code and design amazing games along the way. As a result we would have games that are closer to what the players like and who they are. We would have more innovative gameplay mechanics and more diverse characters.
Mike Hoye’s story of hacking Zelda so that Link is a girl character and not a boy tells the story best. “I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers”
Hackable Games are Learning Engines
If you play games you might also have a hunch about what great learning engines they can be; Skyrim might seem like it’s just about killing dragons but if you look closer it requires some serious resource management and critical thinking to level up.
By default when playing a game you have to master certain skills in order to advance. Moreover games have their players fail multiple times in order to master such skills through experimentation and tinkering.
Now if you think about it that process is quite similar to the way we learn how to code. We tinker again and again, probably write a bunch of nonfunctional code and eventually master a programming language.
So what if we seized the power of (hackable) games to teach the world how to to code?
Mozilla Festival: #mozgames stories
I have highlighted some stories from MozFest below to give you a glimpse of all that took place during the weekend
Hacking Pong and Amira’s Guinea Pings