idiocy systems

Games which teach kids systems thinking

Procedural thinking may be the 21st century’s most essential yet endangered way of thinking. Of course the best way of teaching it to your kids is to live in the 1980s and buy them a BBC Micro, but that is getting harder and harder in these days of touchscreens and it being 30 years too late. Now children’s games designers Exploit ™ have introduced a new range of children’s games for exactly the purpose of teaching procedural thinking skills to your kids. Each game in the new range is designed to be played by children and adults together and involves rules of age appropriate complexity. Standard play of these games should allow the player with the most foresight and self-control to win most of the time (ie the adult). Within each ruleset, however, is hidden a loop-hole which, if discovered, should allow the unscrupulous player crushing victory after crushing victory. The thrill of discovering and using these loop-holes will train your kids in the vital skills of system analysis, procedural thinking and game theory. Parents can either play in “carrot” mode, feigning ignorance of each game’s loop-hole and thus allowing their children the joy of discovery; or they can play in “stick” mode, exploiting the loop-hole for their own ends and using their child’s inevitable defeat, amidst cries of “it’s not fair!” as encouragement for them to engage their own ludic counter-measures.

5 replies on “Games which teach kids systems thinking”

Yep! Since Exploit don’t exist, but I wanted to give them the credibility of at least being hyperlinked. Plus, discovering that I can install BBC Basic on my linux machine was a source of great joy to me

Ah, ok!

I was lucky enough as a kid to go to an Acorn ‘show school’ which meant a lab of highly subsidised Archimedes 4000 and 5000 computers (next-gen BBC’s!). After a few years they started to replace them with DOS/Windows 3 PCs, but for that short time, we had access to modern multitasking computers with a built in basic interpreter, assembler and lots of technical documentation.

Tragically, the curriculum had absolutely no programming content and we had to self-teach coding after school. I suspect this is still the case.


The Archimedes was pretty sophisticated compared to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum I started with. I can still remember the excitement of completing my first project – one of those tennis games – cutting edge at the time!

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