OLPCities: A Second Life for Students?


An OLPCities Homestead

Looking through the OLPC Wiki recently, I noticed a new and evolving publicly edited section called OLPCities. What might this interesting little Brazilian software project be? To quote the OLPCities wiki entry:

The project target is the creation of an interface having the style of the GameBoy from Nintendo (using orthogonal 3D like "Zelda", "Mario Bros." etc.) where the kid's avatar (there are some, to choose one) will "walk" in "streets" of the OLPCity , founding many "activities".
Avatars, walking in streets, doing activities? Might that be a Second Life for the One Laptop Per Child 2B1 Children's Machine?

While the project is in the alpha stage, with one city, ALPHACity, and around 10 activities, it is an open and modular system. If you know a little programming, design, and care to read up on the OLPCities Tutorials, you can create your own freely available "Lots" (activities, games, or content), or a complete "OLPCity".

Don't think you'll be lonely there, as Américo Damasceno, the Brazilian electrical engineer behind OLPCities has developed "portals" where you can jump from on OLPCitiy to the next, even into different languages. Anyone for a French "OLPCité"?

Better yet, you can even introduce children to the violent world of monsters. In a questionable move akin to the user generated One Encyclopedia Per Child handgun image for the letter "G", OLPCities allows developers and theoretically children themselves, to include weaponry into their fantasy world. In fact, one of the OLPCities Lots already has a Shoot the Monster game.

While OLPCities is entirely user generated - it is not official or endorsed by the One Laptop Per Child organization - it does make me wonder. What will millions of students create in a 2B1 Children's Machine-based virtual world?

Will it be a child's version of the very adult , or more like a cartoon version of ?

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1 Comment

i think this is a great idea for anything i would love to see it as just a game i can use with my local network at home. i have a 8 person network at my home, and me and my roommates would love this. it would be great if you could set it up on a home server and just leave notes for each other just have another world at your home