In learning a new programming language, I will often make a one-off program to explore the language and get real-life experience in using it. With Perl, I created a programmatic version of a game I play with my kids as I am tucking them in at night. It’s called, “Thinking of an Animal”, and it’s designed to get them thinking about animals and what they look like and how they are all different. There are many versions of the game such as Thinking of a Safety and Thinking of an Airplane.I used the idea to write a Perl script that interacted with the console and provided positive feed back to the player. It was interesting to anticipate what the user would do and to conceive of the data structures to make the program more elegant. I still need to redesign certain subroutines so that they can be reused and ultimately, I will integrate it with a data base so the animals can be easily added to and expanded upon.
This game will also be useful when the kids start learning to read and can make better use of their computer time. You can download and mess with the program if you like, it’s completely open source and ready to be hacked.