The BBC have been stealthily using the Doctor Who license to push game design and programming onto kids for a while now. Those monsters: corrupting the minds of the innocent, turning them into people with useful practical skills for a digital future. Scrap the license fee and sell the corporation to Murdoch, that’s what I say. The latest step in their campaign of edutainment oppression is The Doctor Who Game Maker, a free tool due later this month and which, if their bluster is correct, won’t just be capable of making crap platformers. “From the simple to the staggering, the only limits are your imagination and ambition.”
I don’t have either of those things in abundance, but I am totally going to try this. Though if they don’t have Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy character models, I’ll have a right old sulk.
The Game Maker is out on 15th September, and is part of the BBC’s ongoing Make It Digital season (which also involves the airing of their GTA drama). Actual details on the tool are scant, but apparently it “offers a huge range of heroes, monsters and worlds from the series to allow users to create their own unique games.” We’ll also be able to play other folks’ games, so I guess if you’ve ever mourned that there aren’t enough Doctor Who games in the world, you’re about to have the opposite problem.
The tool uses something called ‘mixital’, a teen-orientated BBC tech for easy, browser-based digital content creation, which you can have a fiddle with here. Very hard to say at this stage if it’s genuinely capable of the variety and complexity the Who marketing blurb claims it is. Game maker thingies for Strictly Come Dancing and Eastenders will also be made available, in case you prefer tangoes and tantrums to Tardises.
Previously, the Beeb put out The Doctor And The Dalek, a free game whose puzzles involve basic programming logic. Worth a peek if you haven’t already.
The Game Maker will go live here next Tuesday. Just a few days before the new season begins, not coincidently. Apparently Peter Capaldi’s less grumpy in it. I just hope they turn the bloody incidental music down a few notches this time around.