A 74 year old man based in Leeds has dubbed himself “the UK’s oldest app creator” after turning a word game he played at school into an app.
Graham Jaggers has been fanatical about word games for over 60 years, and decided to create one of his own during lockdown. He has launched the new free app which is called ‘The Never-Ending Game’ and published as ‘NE-lite’. It is based on a word game called ‘Donkey’ which he played as a child.
In creating and publishing the game, Graham has surprised friends and family, who believed he did not possess the tech savviness required to build a functional app. It took 18 months to develop, and the game has four different difficulty levels, making it accessible for young children as well as masterminds.
Graham worked as a teacher for 40 years, and is passionate about challenging minds and using games for educational purposes. He has configured ‘NE-lite’ so it can be played on computers as well as tablets and smartphones, to enable visually impaired older people can use larger screens to play.
Graham hopes that his achievement is proof that it’s never too late to challenge oneself and pursue something new.
“NE Lite has huge educational value – it’s the first word game to give you the definitions of the words being made. The app is based on a game I used to play in school called Donkey where one player says a letter, then the next and so on until you’ve spelt out a word. The person who says the letter that finishes that word is the loser – so you want to keep saying letters and make the word as long as possible.
“A lot of people, my own family included, think older people are hopeless with technology, so they weren’t expecting me to pull it off – but I reminded them I was one of the first people to own an Apple Mac in the 80s and that experience set me in good stead for today! I worked hard to prove people wrong and once I finished the app my young grandkids and my older friends were all playing it. My wife was behind me the whole way, and in many ways became my co-worker in helping me build the game’s dictionary. It’s lovely to see the younger generation connecting with the same things I did when I was their age.
“I’ve had the idea for my own game floating around in my head since I was 12 years old – I never worked in technology or IT, but I loved challenging myself and learning a new skill from scratch. People are used to hearing success stories from the younger generation, but with experience on your side it’s never too late to do the things you want to. Your age should never hold you back from achieving.”