leet-hacker game idea

In thinking about helping kids program.. my favorite tool is Philip Guo's python tutor. It would be great to create a "javascript tutor". It might be possible to do this completely client side (I think the python tutor makes an ajax call to essentially parse python code and figure out how it runs, since there is no python interpreter built directly into the browser as there is with JavaScript).

The idea of a "javascript tutor", in combination with this existing javascript tutor-ish game-like thing got me thinking about a game for helping kids program. The link I gave is a sort of game. There's a monster, and he's giving the kid goals, but I tried it a bit, and the monster doesn't check to make sure that the goals were accomplished.

So I got thinking of a game that would make sure the goals were accomplished. Perhaps there's an output box that you can print to, and the goals are like "display 'a' in the box", or "display 1000 a's in the box with a program that is less than 1000 letters long", forcing the use of a for-loop. It could sort of be like project euler, but for kids.

Then I was thinking, perhaps that could be game-ified in a "serious" way. By "serious", I mean maybe some decent effort could be put into art and a sort of story, "you're a leet-hacker person, and you're trying to infiltrate something or other", when it's really just a puzzle game, except that the puzzles require you to write honest-to-goodness actual JavaScript code, but when you pass levels you see honest-to-goodness actual "game" art congratulating your progress and revealing more of the cheesy game story.

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