The TI-83 used to be awesome just because you could play Mario, or Asteroids, or that one awesome RPG that your friend programmed in his spare time in front of the teacher, who probably knew what was going on more often than you realized. That graphing calculator made math class bearable for millions of high school students back in its heyday. But, times have changed. Kids will be playing much more advanced games in math class now.
Time’s inexorable march has brought us the HP Prime Graphing Calculator, something that looks like it could run a real Mario game. Hey, with a touchscreen, the possibilities for game design on this thing are limitless. It’s almost enough to make me want to go back to math class. Almost.
Oh, right, we need to talk about math stuff, so the teachers don’t get suspicious. In all seriousness, this is going to make math homework a whole lot easier, too. There are dedicated apps for geometry, graphing, and calculations. All that is displayed on a 3.5” touch screen, which presents those graphs in full color. You can also input formulas much like you would when using Excel. It blows the capabilities of older graphing calculators out of the water.
Then, crucially, there’s the HP Prime Connectivity Kit. That will allow users to hook the calculator up to a PC. On that PC, they’ll be able to create and edit apps and programs, which can then be sent to the calculator. So, game developers, that’s what you want to be looking for.
The only problem I can see is that it’s going to be way harder to pass off using the touch screen for gaming as real work in front of the teacher. It was way easier to sell tapping away on the buttons of a TI-83. But, high school students are an industrious lot. I’m sure they’ll find a way. In the meantime, they can start breezing through math homework like never before possible.
The Touch HP Prime Graphing Calculator will be available this fall, probably just in time for the new school year.