Playful Software


This early discovery-by-play keeps recurring, in history and across disciplines. Richard Feynman talks about tinkering with radios as a kid. James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese, and countless other filmmakers credit Super 8 with their starts.

Tinkerability and accessibility. As Feynman notes, “Radio circuits were much easier to understand in those days because everything was out in the open.” The Slate article on Super 8 notes how cheap the film was, “You didn’t have to worry about experimenting with it.” These are the preconditions to play.

But the inconvenient fact of technological progress is that it inherently trends toward complexity and obfuscation… Similarly, if I were a kid today, there’s no way I could self-teach HTML by inspecting source.

Playful software that let people experiment with their own spaces and forms of expression are a precondition to a more enlivening internet

See also: play, constructionist learning, cozy software

software principles