The company behind Makey Makey has created a game console by the name of GameBender, a system that allows its users to learn how to code through video games.
The creators of GameBender, Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, began their journey by creating the Makey Makey while at MIT under the direction of Mitch Resnick. Their first invention, the Makey Makey, allowed users to connect everyday objects to their computer and use them as peripherals, giving rise to many videos on Youtube showcasing the using of bananas to control characters inside video games. Through the immense success of their first invention, Silver and Rosenbaum set out to create a platform whereby users could enter any game's code and modify it, effectively editing the game itself as it was being played.
While there have been programs made in the past which used video games to teach kids, what GameBender is doing now is unlike anything else. Based upon what has been showcased through videos, the graphics aren't that bad, and the system appears to run flawlessly, opening the door for future game designers to assist the creators in developing even more complex games for the platform.
Via Tom's Hardware, we've learned that the console has already garnered funding from the National Science Foundation and that its software is created by Scratch, a platform which allows its 40 million-plus users to share their coded games and apps. The console itself will come with a controller, allowing its users to access the code of any game and a camera which is designed, when coupled with 3D glasses, to give consumers a firsthand look at how augmented reality works. Additionally, the console will come with fifty flash cards which detail how users can go about editing the game's code. Currently, consumers can pre-order the console for $299, but Silver expects that price to jump to $399 by launch.
It's unclear at this point in time if GameBender will be able to have access to games created through Scratch, but if the console is able to do just that it will give other game companies a run for their money. Given that new technology has caused a steep rise in the need for coders, this new system could prove useful in creating a workforce that is ready for the tasks that they will face in the future. While it has hurdles to overcome, this new console could also put pressure on other console manufacturers to provide a similar option and may even lead to a new and improved system.
While it is certainly a very good idea, the pricetag may deter many consumers from buying the console from the onset. GameBender will need to ensure that enough games are present on the system at launch to garner interest from the public.