Lots of computer geeks love them, but I have an aversion to board games. At most once a year I can gently enjoy playing a round of Monopoly, draughts or even (if rather badly) chess. I trust the classics, knowing they’ve stood the test of time. What makes me cringe, though, is the board game that has been invented — no, that’s too kind — that has been produced as a brand tie-in, like The Top-Gear Board Game¹. Knowing the only motive is profit, how can I expect an enjoyable well-crafted game playing experience?
So what shall I make of C-Jump? It looks like the motive in this case is good educational intentions, and so instinctively I cringe for the game play. And I cringe for the C code. It claims to be “based on the code of a real computer program” but most of the moves are written as expressions with no assignment of the result (“x + 2;”).
At the same time, I am fascinated by the possibility it might be able to sow a seed of familiarity and fun in a child’s mind, just enough to provoke a curiosity later in life on encountering the same symbols again, in the same way that playing with fluffy toy horsies², even if they are green and blue and yellow, might for a certain child spark a vet’s career.
I have to admire the effort that seems to have been put into it. It might even be playable. Once a year.
¹ I have no idea if that’s really a Thing, but I bet it is. [UPDATE: Yes, I checked, it is.]
² Dear spelling checker, “horsies” does indeed have an “i” in it.