I made a boo-boo, yeah
November 7, 2019 2:37 PM   Subscribe

"In March 1991 Kid Pix 1.0 was released, and things started to get really good. Sales were significantly above expectations and the reviews were exceptional. Very positive reviews appeared in MacUser, The San Jose Mercury News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Whole Earth Review. A MacWorld Magazine review stated, 'Pros: Brilliant; hilarious; innovative; inexpensive. Cons: None.'" Craig Hickman, author of Kid Pix, recounts its prehistory, inspiration, guiding principles, early development, publication by Broderbund, and stunning success. posted by J.K. Seazer (18 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I was 10 and this was just the best thing ever. I was fortunate to attend a school that had computers that we could use and this was a huge hit among my classmates. I used to draw calming beach scenes a lot.
posted by acidnova at 3:06 PM on November 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

Kid Pix and Mario Paint both have very real effects on the way I think about and make art even today. There are still times when I'm using photoshop or illustrator and I wish things were handled more like Kid Pix or Mario Paint. At the very least some fill animations and sound effects might jazz things up a bit.

Storybook Weaver was another fantastic formative creativity program I miss today.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:07 PM on November 7, 2019 [8 favorites]

STORYBOOK WEAVER WAS MY SHIT. Kid pix too. Thanks for this post!
posted by bleep at 3:25 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

God, kid pix was THEE FUNNEST. We got like an hour a week in the computer lab at my early 90s elementary school and I remember yawning through programming in Logo hoping we'd get time at the end to play with kid pix. Singlehandedly made me want a computer in my house.
posted by potrzebie at 3:36 PM on November 7, 2019

posted by handwich at 3:41 PM on November 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

I was too old for it and I played with it for hundreds of hours. Every once in awhile I remember it and hope I don't get in trouble for googling it.
posted by interrobang at 4:18 PM on November 7, 2019 [8 favorites]

I taught computer for a little while and Kid Pix was SO EXCELLENT.
posted by Peach at 4:49 PM on November 7, 2019

My kids loved Kid Pix. So did I.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:56 PM on November 7, 2019

Kid Pix was great. I also remember Kid CAD, which seems to have disappeared almost entirely from the internet, and some mysterious art software that had some 3D art study of drawing a milk carton(?) that I've never been able to find.
posted by No One Ever Does at 5:21 PM on November 7, 2019

Oh my gosh, Kid CAD! A few days ago I was trying to remember the name of the program with the little animated village menu screen.

I spent many hours in both Kid Pix and Kid CAD. Thanks for this post.
posted by henuani at 5:50 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

When Ben built something out of blocks, he enjoyed knocking his structure down almost as much as he did building it. Getting rid of the picture should be fun. Hence the exploding firecracker eraser.

So true. I'd forgotten so much about Kid Pix but this brought back the gleeful joy of destroying a picture with that explosion.

I loved reading this--thanks for posting it!
posted by mixedmetaphors at 6:04 PM on November 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I remember reading somewhere, a long time ago, that Kid Pix was about as close to a bug-free piece of software as had ever been written.
posted by bz at 6:12 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Kid Pix was my childhood. Thanks for the post!
posted by mrcircles at 6:18 PM on November 7, 2019

I made so many things in Kid Pix once upon a time, from simple pictures to mazes to game mockups to comics to homemade Magic the Gathering cards. A good, good program. The CGA palette eventually began to chafe, I suppose, but I remember also having a later version of the software that just never clicked with me, so idk.
posted by one for the books at 7:15 PM on November 7, 2019

Oh no!
posted by zooropa at 8:00 PM on November 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just found this video on Craig's home page of a Q&A session with some of the biggest pioneers in educational software, including Mark Schlichting (Living Books) and Ann McCormick (The Learning Company). Highly recommended if you're interested in similar stories about how these projects got started.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 8:25 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you would like to play with Kid Pix 1.0, it runs in the browser over at the Internet Archive.
posted by timdiggerm at 4:55 AM on November 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'm just really astonished that there was a widely popular, award-winning piece of Broderbund software that I never used and was, until now, totally unaware of.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:55 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

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