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Sometimes I'm a bit skeptical about these kinds of posts "I'm X age, I made this". I feel like, why would a 14 year old want to make sure his age is on the post title?. It's not that extraordinary I think, I mean it's great that his doing this, but it's not that un-ordinary, sometimes it seems like someone else is driving this for promo.



It's not like there's an overwhelming number of 14 year olds making games right now and posting that they did on Hacker News. It's okay, every once in awhile, for our HN community to join together and simply applaud a young teenager who's going after it.

It's kind of like he's asking for early admission to our special club. We can parse his message if we so choose, but the overwhelming feeling I have for any 14 year old that launches his first game is simply to say congrats.

With that said, Jonah is my cousin and my cup runneth over.


calling it 'our special club' makes me really uneasy on many different levels.


Because he's 14 and super stoked about accomplishing something that many people twice his age couldn't do, so he's showing off a bit.

Sometimes I'm baffled by how hard it is for seemingly intelligent people to grasp very simple human behavior. Spend an afternoon with a kid once. I promise you they'll let you know when they think they've done something cool.


Your first paragraph explains it perfectly, but the tone in your second one is too harsh. Being polite and remaining calm is more appealing than attacking someone like that.


I'm feeling kinda harsh tonight. Guess an apology is in order.

Sorry.


> Because he's 14 and super stoked about accomplishing something that many people twice his age couldn't do So what? Why does age matter so much? A 28 year old may have less programming experience and help from sites like MakeGamesWithUs and still complete similar projects. Why is it so important that he's 14? He obviously isn't the only 14 year old coding and completing a project, it's not even that rare anymore. Probably not as rare as a woman making iPhone app, at least. With today's technology, everybody over the age of 12 can learn programming, build apps and complete university classes.

I post my projects to HN too, I have only once reached the front page. I never mention my young age, and I won't do it here, because it doesn't matter and it's not relevant.


Good for you.


What's even funnier is everyone in the comments "casually" mentioning that when they were 14 they were doing X or Y or Z. Even in congratulating a kid, people here must brag and not feel left out.

No matter how smart, humans stay humans. It's cute.


I did what you mentioned (saying what I was doing when I was 14), and I can assure you I wasn't bragging(!) in the slightest bit (it didn't even occur to me) and I'm certain others are on the same boat. Most are reminiscing... How times have changed, our old, beloved tools, etc.

You're just being a little bit pessimistic, I think! ;-)


It's hard not to feel a bit bitter when I read things like this. I had a one day introduction to programming in 6th grade (was 10 or 11), and I absolutely loved it. I was ridiculously driven to learn programming for a span of time, starting with basic (which was what we had used). I bought one of those terrible "Learn X in 30 Days!" books, dragged my dad off to get a copy of VB (based on what little research I did/understood), and got to work.

The whole thing was crap. The book was slow, boring, and made little sense. The IDE was completely unfamiliar and strange; I couldn't grasp how things connected together. I showed my uncle the book and proudly told him I was going to learn to program, and what he thought of it (he's a lifelong programmer); he said it was probably better as a reference and left it at that.

I lost interest soon, as I couldn't figure out much of anything useful from the book. I came back to it a few months later, and a few months after that to try again, each time making less progress and losing interest faster.

Some years later, in my last year of high school, I took an intro programming course at the local community college and rediscovered my love of it. I did well, often helping other students, only to have my interest utterly burned out of me when I took the "culling" compsci course at my university a few years later. I busted my ass and failed miserably, and ended up thinking that I just wasn't cut out to be a programmer.

It's been a few years since then, and I'm slowly starting to get back on the horse and learn on my own; reading HN has been a great help with this, as I doubt I would have found quality resources like Eloquent Javascript otherwise. But I feel like there were multiple opportunities in my life to learn and enjoy programming from a young age, and seeing other people have the same thing but succeed is a painful reminder of my own lost chances and failures.


Like you, I hit wrong turns learning programming as a kid. Perhaps I got a bit farther than you, but I spent years writing in crippled languages like QuickBasic and Visual Basic, and bought poorly written, unhelpful programming books I couldn't get through. Everything I tried to write until my late teens was unfinished or a stupid toy.

What I lacked in my younger years, and it sounds like you did too, was resourcefulness. We weren't like this: http://www.paulgraham.com/relres.html The proper response to getting stuck with a dead-end IDE or book would've been to try like hell to find a different approach that works.

It would've been nice to have relentless resourcefulness as a teenager, but there's no changing the past. I'm trying to teach myself that quality now, and I'd suggest you practice it as well. In the end what you did when you were 15 just gets you some bragging rights, at best. You have the rest of your life to accomplish things that actually matter. And that's a much more important thing to know than JavaScript.


Congratulations: you now have exactly what it takes to write a book teaching kids how to program that does not suck. :)


Yup. I got a "C++ In 30 Days" book when I was 12 or so. Don't think I got much further than Hello World. Didn't try programming again until halfway through college. I wonder what would have happened if I got a Python book instead.


Yes if you call "not doing anything worthwhile and just playing around the whole day" as bragging, then I'll brag a bit too :)

But..agree with your observation. Humans stay humans..!


> why would a 14 year old want to make sure his age is on the post title?

Because they know that they'll be praised for it and probably manage to sell a couple of copies. It also makes sense as something to put on a higher-ed application or CV ("I can already write commercially successful pieces of software, I got X comment from Y developer and sold N units").

That said, you're probably right in suspecting that this is partially driven by someone other than OP. The landing page of MakeGamesWith.Us has Cheese Miners on the front page along with the text: "It's so easy we got high school students to do it".

However, regardless of OP's motivation, it is well worthwhile applauding them on a job well done at such a young age. There are nowhere near enough teenagers taking up programming[0], and I hope that success stories like this will encourage more young people to at least get their feet wet with this financially and mentally rewarding craft.

[0]: This is especially troubling given the ubiquity of free development environments and online instructional material.


Seems pretty good. At 14 I was playing Magic: The Gathering in all of my free time.


I agree. If you've made a good app, its merit will stand on its own. The fact that people believe their age to be the most remarkable aspect of the development of their product raises flags. If any things, it just seems like an attempt to artificially lower standards.

Your age doesn't matter. Your product does.


That's it. Discourage them right from the start. He (or she) is 14 for crying out loud.


I'm not discouraging them. I'm saying that age doesn't matter. Completing an app is a laudable accomplishment for anyone. Emphasizing their age, if anything, makes light of this accomplishment because it can come off as patronizing. I think that it's great that they made an app, but their age isn't important.


I think age is relevant for this post. Otherwise nobody would be really interested in reading a post about a new release, everytime a programmer in this website comes up with their new app. So I think the most important thing is that he is just 14 years old provided that the quality of his work is decently acceptable.

PS: don't be like that to your own kids, cuz you will be hated as a father, I can guarantee you that.


> Your age doesn't matter. Your product does.

Product? It's a kid just learning to program and it's his/her first app (and is free). It's not a product!!! Just a typical "Show HN".


I didn't mean "product" to imply something for created for commercial purposes. I simply meant that it was something he had produced.


I completely agree.

The initial rush of being X years old and a programmer soon wears off. For those young people who are serious about programming, age becomes more of an impediment, rather than a badge of honor.

If you broadcast that you are X years old, sometimes people will not take your work seriously. Sometimes they won't hire you. Sometimes people will take advantage of you. This is why, at some point, it's important to abstract away age from your work.


I'm pretty sure your age matters if it drastically deviates from the norm. What were most of us doing at 14? Playing videogames, trying to survive high school and puberty...

This kid publishes a freakin' iPhone game— a good one, at that!— and people are shitting on him for it? C'mon.


> I'm pretty sure your age matters if it drastically deviates from the norm.

No, it doesn't. Most people deviate from the norm on something. Age, gender, disabilities. So what?

As a teenage programmer, I can say that teenage programmers aren't that uncommon any more. It's not remarkable, age really doesn't matter. Anyone over the age of 10 can learn programming by taking programming courses from world-renown universities nowdays. I'm 16 and I've been programming for years. That's only because I had a chance to learn programming and I took it, not because I'm more intelligent than a someone who's 20 years older than me and only got a computer when he was 18. Other people at my age didn't have such chances, and I'm thankful.


You just argued against yourself, here.

> Other people at my age didn't have such chances

That's my point. Being a 14 year old who knows Objective-C and has published a video game is still rare. I don't see how you can argue otherwise.


I meant older people didn't have that chance when they were my age. 15 years ago computers weren't that common. Nowdays, almost every child in the western world has access to a computer from a very young age.

Even if you're right, even if it's something rare, we're missing the point. It's not about how rare it is, or how wonderful he is. It's about the product/game. Or at least it should be, in my opinion.




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