The Raspberry Pi was the unexpected success story of 2012. Designed by a team led by Eben Upton, who as a tutor at Cambridge had become concerned about the poor computing skills of university applicants, and including David Braben, a veteran computer game designer, this credit card sized computer aims to put the fun back into computing. Costing only £25, it just needs a modern TV screen and a keyboard to become a working computer but it can connect to all the things a full-size computer can. Demand quickly outran supply and a new manufacturing facility was opened by Sony in South Wales to cope with it.
Kriss and Shi Blank from Bradford won the first competition to design a new game for the device; they came up with a “Ghostbusters”’ style game where players have to learn Morse code to play the game and win jelly babies if they succeed in killing a ghost. There is some information about the game at cpcpihack and you can download the code to play on your own computer – it is free and will run on any computer, not just a Raspberry Pi – from bitbucket. They try to design a new game one evening every month and they are all free to download.
Those working with children and young people will find this a much cheaper and more interesting way of introducing people to computing than using desktop computers and what they learn will help them with any computer. You can get them from Farnell’s. Of course, you have to supply the monitor and keyboard but that still makes them far cheaper than almost any other computer.