The OLPC is an education project but that doesn't mean there is no room for fun. On the contrary, fun must be integrated into the child's educational experience. See also Game development for more.
Classes of games
- Chess -- The World Chess Federation is one of the most inclusive organizations in the world. Many free players, graphical boards, and internet players are available. See Chess for some ways to play chess on the OLPC, although there's no activity for it (yet). The Hiphop Chess Federation uses "chess, music, and martial arts to promote unity, strategy, and non-violence." International Master chess player Josh Waitzkin has written a book, The Art of Learning to teach chess. There are several different ways available to play Chess on the XO.
- Chinese chess, Xiangqi; Korean chess, Janggi; Japanese chess, Shogi
- Go, weiqi, baduk - a popular Chinese strategy game with rules simple enough for a child to learn, but widely considered deeper than chess. Free internet resources comparable to chess. PlayGo is an on-going XO implementation.
- Reversi - popular and easy to learn.
- Oware, similar sowing games, popular in african countries. Sometimes used to teach counting and elementary arithmetic.
- AddTraction, quick game of adding up points on the board which requires prediction for several moves. (probably good to train addition)
- Nine Men's Morris and games on similar boards with 3-12 men; Twelve Men's Morris is hugely popular in some African countries under names such as mlabalaba. Sometimes used to teach counting and elementary arithmetic.
- Arimaa, similar to chess and played with the same figures and board
The strength of game-playing software varies greatly with the difficulty of the game. Nine Men's Morris is completely solved, so there are computer programs that never lose. The best chess-playing programs can frequently beat the best human players, although commercially available and Free chess software is much weaker than that. Go-playing programs are only of amateur strength.
- See also Board Games
- Check for local games in countries.
(A natural setting for a flash games framework)
Other networked games
The networked evironment in which the laptop is embedded would be natural for peer-to-peer multi-player games. Many of these games could provide both a computer opponent and the ability to connect with other laptop players.
- Paper telephone (passed-on storytelling or image-drawing)
- Paper and pencil games are games that are typically multiple-player, played with pencil and paper or on a blackboard.
- Dots and Boxes, Tic-tac-toe
- Exquisite corpse or Eat Poop You Cat
- Hangman -- solitaire or in a group for vocabulary and spelling
- Simon Tatham's puzzle games
- Jigsaw puzzle. Cut up images/drawings, play and share. See also Exploring XO: Tab 3.
- Bolo: an old mac-based game which seems ideally suited to this project: runs on basic hardware, takes a minute to learn (and a lifetime to master), network requirements seem to match that provide by the OLPC laptop.
- On the OLPC Games mailing list, Phil Hassey has suggested that his collection of open-source Pygame games could be ported to the OLPC, if someone was looking for something to do.
- Mubbles (preliminary name, an idea right now): A playground for visual objects programmed by kids in python (pygame) where they can show off their mathematical, physical and programming knowledge (and "hack" each other :) ).
- Scorched Earth: An oft-replicated game of two units (either a player and a computer or two players) that attempt to destroy the other by use of various weapons. The challenge arises in that aiming involves calculating for wind, power and angle of trajectory while also voiding the (often quite varied) terrain of the 'level'. Advancing in levels creates more difficult terrain barries and options for new weapons with unique characteristics (such as those that burrow through the ground or explode mid-air).
- Lode Runner: A game of strategy that requires the user to evade capture by using various means (set traps, dig holes, or outflank) the computer-controlled opponent to capture all the tokens (gold pieces), optionally acquire a key and reach an exit door. Interesting two-player mode comes up such that teamwork is required for timing-sensitive aspect of the map, where one player must take action so as to make the other player able to accomplish the team's collective task.
- Bridge-Builder: A very fun game in which you have to design a bridge spanning a river, and then test the bridge by running a train across it. It encourages experimentation with different sorts of structures, and gives good insight into why bridges are the shape they are.
Many game developers submitted ideas and screenshots of games for the XO for a game development contest at GDC 2007. The two winning entrants received developer machines at the conference to make their games a reality on the XO. These were:
- Magica by Juan Gril of Joju Games - a game combining team quizzes and magic
- Constellations by John Swisshelm of Georgia Tech, a game for a library of card-based games
Other well received entries included
- Tristan Lewis's Color Battle game for carving out and protecting areas of color, which won honorable mention for the most original concept
- Christian Schlager's role-playing Zamé
- Peter Gault's elaborate "Detective" game
- Geoffrey Hom's "NameQuest" for learning various languages
- Jim Falgatter's keyboarding application, a previously written game which he is trying to integrate with TamTam
There are many constructionist game ideas to be found on Squeakland. To view the results, go to Squeakland and download Squeak, and install the SqueakPluginInstaller. Not all regions may want to adopt Squeak as an all-encompassing platform. The same types of things can be implemented in the OLPC Python Environment...
Global issues games
Edward Cherlin proposed XO ports of several existing games dealing with global issues in a devel mailing list post:
- Food Force (UN World Food Programme)
- Water Alert (created for UNICEF)
- Ayiti: The Cost of Life (Global Kids)
- Climate Challenge (BBC)