Game Builder Garage hides powerful programming tools behind a cute interface

The idea of a video game that lets you build other video games is nearly as old as the medium itself, dating back at least to 1983’s Pinball Construction Set. More recently, series like Little Big Planet and Dreams have shown just how powerful simple controller-based game creation tools can be, while experiments like Kodu and Project Spark have failed to find the necessary audience to sustain themselves.

Nintendo isn’t new to this concept, either—the Mario Maker series and games like WarioWare DIY have given players robust creation tools to play with. But Game Builder Garage is Nintendo’s most ambitious effort yet to let its users make games, using a coding-free environment built for the Nintendo Switch.

Meet the Nodons

The basic layout of Game Builder Garage will be familiar to anyone who has used visual programming tools Scratch or the Unreal Engine’s Kismet environment. Instead of being built with lines of code, Garage games are made by placing and connecting little colored square beings called Nodons, which sit in the design space and distractingly blink their eyes at you every few seconds.

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