At the beginning of fourth grade in Montessori, Rader, age 9, completed an assignment about career goals. He wrote: "I want to design video games when I am older. I will need to study the history of gaming and study computer programming." His three action steps were:
First, I plan to attend video game making camp.
I will need to practice making video games at home and getting my friends to play them.
I will need to publish a video game.
Later that school year, he described himself in a poetry assignment: "Rader/lover of video games like Mario/who needs more time to make up games/who gives fun when I play my games with friends."
In accordance with his action steps, Rader began learning to create computer and video games as an elementary school student and started publishing them. Later he also became interested in broadcasting on Twitch and speedrunning, that is, completing a game or a goal within a game in the fastest possible time. The links below will take you to some of the games and other media he created, so you can see and play for yourself.
Twitch describes itself as "a community where millions of people and thousands of interests collide in a beautiful explosion of video games, pop culture, and conversation." Rader's Twitch persona was DerplingDiamond. On Twitch, you'll find videos of Rader speedrunning a variety of games, and you'll see his interests were not always mainstream. He enjoyed some nostalgic properties such as LazyTown and Club Penguin.
Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. "With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations—and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively—essential skills for life in the 21st century."
Rader had more than one account on Scratch over the years. First was Mini_Mario; these are his earliest and simplest Scratch projects. MrManGuy is where he created the most content. DerplingDiamond was a newer profile. Note Block Remix, a MrManGuy project published one month before Rader's death, was one of his most impressive achievements, although it's hard to explain if you're not a Scratch programmer. (You can get some idea from scrolling back through the comments.)
According to its FAQ, "Gamestar Mechanic is a game and community designed to teach kids the principles of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging environment. It is designed for 7- to 14-year-olds but is open to everyone." This site may have been the first place Rader began to make video games. Following are links to some of his best games there.
Message Blocks: A great example of Rader's sense of humor in game design. See how he used message blocks in a way they were never intended to be used.
Goal Finder: An expansive puzzle game showing the depth and planning Rader was willing to put into his games, even early on.
Teen VS. Thief: A five-chapter storytelling game following a teenage detective. This is the only completed game both kids worked on together.
Game With No Purpose: Just sit back and watch things happen in the Game With No Purpose! Rader made sure you couldn't do anything, even if you wanted to.
Minimario Mix: A collection Rader made of different levels from 13 of his games. A couple of them are tricky, but it's a good example of the many different types of games he was making.
Because the site is for younger kids, you may need to create an account to see and play the rest of his games. You can search for them under "minimario".