Programming isn’t just a young person’s game anymore.
Since the beginning of time, children unable to prove themselves physically have resorted to the playground classic, “my big brother/dad could beat up your big brother/dad with one arm behind his back/blindfolded.” Now “my gran can out-code your gran” can be added to that list.
81-year-old Japanese woman Masako Wakamiya set out to prove that making and using mobile phone applications wasn’t purely for young whipper-snappers. After six months studying programming and in regular contact with her teacher, she has produced her very own app, called Hinadan.
▼ Hinadan, with an explanation by the creator herself
Every year on the 3rd of March, Japanese people celebrate Girl’s Day (fear not, boys also get their own holiday on the 5th of May – once called Boy’s Day, but know the more-inclusive Children’s Day) by decorating display stands with dolls dressed in Heian-era clothing, as seen in a recent cat-astrophe.
In Hinadan (a mix of the words hina, a type of doll, and dan, meaning tier or level), the player must position 12 dolls in their correct position on a display consisting of four levels. Should a doll be positioned correctly, a noise is heard, and if positioned incorrectly, a really quite aggressive buzzer sounds. The game has been designed not to rely on lightning-quick reflexes or feats of dexterity but on knowledge of the festival and its traditions, providing edu-tainment for all.
Should your knowledge not be up to scratch, there is voice guidance to help. If the player places all of the dolls in the right place, they are rewarded for the efforts with a message of congratulations, something not enough games include, in my humble opinion.
▼ Wakamiya’s TedxTokyo talk (dubbed in English)
Hinadan is now available for free download from the Apple app store here. Japanese superstition suggests that to leave the dolls on display past the 4th of March is unlucky and will result in the household’s daughter marrying late, but the dolls seen in Masako’s foray into the gaming world are probably an exception.