Micah Cole has always been the kind of person who has a powerful desire to learn how things work. If something catches his interest, it’s a good bet that sooner or later he’s going to take it apart and figure out how it works.
“I’ve always enjoyed electronics,” the Valley Christian senior said. “And I’ve always enjoyed computer stuff.”
The same applies to his love of video games; he’s already created several of those.
“The first ones were pretty rudimentary,” he said. “My challenge is that I like working on what makes it work and I don’t do a whole lot with the graphics that make them look good. So they tend to be kind of bare.”
His first game was a version of tic-tac-toe, but it had a glitch.
“Well, there were certain squares that would allow both you and your opponent to occupy the same space,” he said, laughing. “I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, so I decided to just call it a design feature.”
Changing the labeling worked for a while, he says, but in the end he couldn’t let the glitch stand.
“I did go back eventually and fix it,” he said.
His later games have gotten progressively more complicated, prompting him to learn more and more about the mathematics behind game theory, particularly digital design.
“I have a natural passion for science,” he said. “Mathematics is part of that. I like learning about it all. I’m going to start studying at George Fox University in the fall and I plan to study science and technology. I’m going to enroll in their school of electrical engineering and study computer science.”
His independent study already has taught him a valuable lesson: the power of patience in the art of trial and error.
“I like digging into things and working with them,” he said. “It’s probably not going to work the first time you try something. You can’t get mad or frustrated by it and try again. I like that about it – you have to learn what didn’t work and try again.”
His current project is designing his own computer from scratch.
“So far it’s not something that really conforms to any of the current computer standards,” he said. “It’s kind of my own exploration.”