At Lisa’s persistent instigation, Will, Kyle and I drove up to Pittsburgh on Friday to jam on games for the One Laptop Per Child Project. We actually got to handle some of the XO prototypes, which are even smaller than I expected, but also pretty neat.

We didn’t win, but we did create a complete game, albeit one that only fully worked four hours after the judging round. We also had a lot of fun, and not a lot of sleep. Some of the other projects looked great, and the winner was really polished–I have no doubt it will end up as part of the standard XO package.

I feel bad about the way the game turned out, because all the delays and problems were due entirely to my inexperience in the required tools (Python and Pygame). On the other hand, I’ve been mumbling about needing to learn Python for four years now, and now I have! Mumbled. I mean, learned.

The game (“Caketown”) lacks a lot of things (an intro, an outro, more than two levels, etc) but I’m going to post it anyway so you can hear Kyle’s fantastic music and see Will’s amazing art. What you don’t get to see is Lisa’s work as project coordinator, colorist and, now, one of the few living experts on how to install software on the XO.

Here it is as a Windows executable, in zip or gzip form (I recommend unzipping to C:\Caketown\). If you’re not running Windows, you can have the gzipped source and data, but you’ll need Python and Pygame installed to use it. You could also wait a little while, as I really do want to put together a finished and more coherent version with code that will not, when read, summon Nyarlathotep (the Crawling Chaos).

Weird footnote: unexpectedly, I recognized and got to meet a couple of people I knew or knew of from Internet (Bryan Cash and Tom Murphy). And they were both kind of startled / scared! But somebody did that to me once so it’s only fair.