Nintendo Wants You to Take Their Jobs
Nintendo has announced this evening that they will be releasing the new software Game Builder Garage. Releasing June 11, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, Game Builder Garage takes aim at all ages in its pursuit of teaching visual video game programming.
In an attempt to simplify the game development process, players will be using characters called Nodons to create their perfect game. These Nodons can be representative of various things and act in much the same way as, say, functions, variables, and classes do in traditional programming. One example provided by Nintendo mentions creating a human character that can be moved around by combining a “Stick Nodon” with a “Person Nodon”.
The game will feature two major ‘modes’. In Lesson Mode, players will be taught the essentials behind video game making. They will be provided with interactive lessons that they can take on as quickly or slowly as they want. In between lessons will be Checkpoints, opportunities for players to test their new-found programming skills to solve puzzles or perform tasks that build off what they have learned. In Free Programming Mode, players will be given access to all tools in order to create the game of their dreams. Within this mode you can quickly pivot between programming and testing, allowing you to make sure that everything you’ve been designing is functioning correctly.
Players will also be able to download and share levels with others worldwide via the Internet. Doing so allows you to try out your friends’ innovative (or absolutely terrible) new games, prove your true game dev prowess to the world by publishing the next hit title, or even learn from the best (well, besides Nintendo) by opening the Free Programming Mode with any downloaded level to see how the mastermind behind it put it all together.
From the first looks at the visual style of the game and the simplicity of its design, it definitely seems as though Nintendo is courting the under-16 market with this release. It is something they have explored in the past, with titles such as Super Mario Maker allowing players to get a small introduction to the idea of ‘creating’ their own video games. One need not look further than the Little Big Planet series for more examples of very popular games aimed at kids that allow you craft what you will be playing. Similar projects to introduce young people to visual coding such as Blockly, by Google, have proved somewhat successful in entering this space in the past as well.
Game Builder Garage will be compatible with Joy-Con controllers, Nintendo Switch Pro controllers, and the Nintendo Switch Light controllers, with the added ability to connect a compatible mouse to the USB port of the Nintendo Switch dock and navigate the game via that.
Game Builder Garage will launch June 11 via the Nintendo eShop and on Nintendo.com for $29.99. Do you think that Game Builder Garage will prove successful for Nintendo? Do you think you would be more interested in coding if it was all done visually? Let us know down in the comments!