When I was about 11, my best friend was a guy called James Brzezicki, who used to spend hours drawing out super-detailed level designs for platform video games. I copied him, although mine were never as good.
The real problem, though, was that when the drawings were finished we had no way of turning them into actual games. Neither of us was able to code, and the idea that it might be possible to create a video game approaching the quality of, say, Super Mario World was pretty unimaginable stuff.
Thankfully, technology has moved on a lot in the past couple of decades. Proof of this is the launch of a new iPad app called Pixel Press Floors, which lets you create side-scrolling platform games using nothing more than a few basic school supplies.
All you need to do is to print out some special graphic paper from the Pixel Press website and draw various special symbols on it. Each square represents a piece of the terrain, while the different symbols symbolize items like coins.
When you’re finished, you photograph the paper with your iPad camera and — hey presto! — your game is immediately imported into Pixel Press Floors where you can play through your created levels to your heart’s delight.
It looks great fun, and the fact that it’s free makes it all the better. Pixel Press Floors can be downloaded from the App Store, for any iPad running iOS 6.0 and above.