Welcome to our demo video for our hack “Retro Readers”. This is a game created by our two man team including myself Shakir Alam and my friend Jacob Cardoso. We are both heading into our senior year at Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School and enjoyed participating in our first hackathon ever, Hack The 6ix a tremendous amount.
We spent over a week brainstorming ideas for our first hackathon project and because we are both very comfortable with the idea of making, programming and designing with pygame, we decided to take it to the next level using modules that work with APIs and complex arrays.
Retro Readers was inspired by a social media post pertaining to another text font that was proven to help mitigate reading errors made by dyslexic readers. Jacob found OpenDyslexic which is an open-source text font that does exactly that.
The game consists of two overall gamemodes. These gamemodes aim towards an age group of mainly children and young children with dyslexia who are aiming to become better readers. We know that reading books is becoming less popular among the younger generation and so we decided to incentivize readers by providing them with a satisfying retro-style arcade reading game.
The first gamemode is a read and research style gamemode where the reader or player can press a key on their keyboard which leads to a python module calling a database of semi-sorted words from Wordnik API. The game then displays the word back to the reader and reads it aloud using a TTS module.
As for the second gamemode, we decided to incorporate a point system. Using the points the players can purchase unique customizables and visual modifications such as characters and backgrounds. This provides a little dopamine rush for the players for participating in a tougher gamemode.
The gamemode itself is a spelling type game where a random word is selected using the same python modules and API. Then a TTS module reads the selected word out loud for readers. The reader then must correctly spell the word to attain 5 points without seeing the word.
The task we found the most challenging was working with APIs as a lot of them were not deemed fit for our game. We had to scratch a few APIs off the list for incompatibility reasons. A few of these APIs include: Oxford Dictionary, WordsAPI and more.
Overall we found the game to be challenging in all the right places and we are highly satisfied with our final product. As for the future, we’d like to implement more reliable APIs and as for future hackathons (this being our first) we’d like to spend more time researching viable APIs for our project. And as far as business practicality goes, we see it as feasible to sell our game at a low price, including ads and/or pad cosmetics. We’d like to give a special shoutout to our friend Simon Orr allowing us to use 2 original music pieces for our game. Thank you for your time and thank you for this amazing opportunity.