When I was 11, I was introduced to my first computer (an Apple II) in school and had started to write programs for it. I was so proud the day I re-invented the bubble sort on my own and showed it to my parents (who really had no clue whatsoever why that would be interesting). I got better and learned to write my own games.
With VS 2005 I tried to get my son (now 11 himself) to learn to code by appealing to his love of games. We created a project and added System.Drawing, drew some lines and rectangles. This is old school learning here: figure things out from the pixel up. It was a thing of beauty. I asked my son “isn’t that cool?!”, and his only response was “sure, but where do we put Mario?” sigh.
With the introduction of XNA Game Studio Express, I think I have my answer. The .NET Compact Framework team has been working for a while now on building in custom CLR support for the Xbox 360. Both of my sons are now very excited about the prospect of writing their own games that run on the 360. We have already signed up for the beta.
Congratulations to the XNA and .NET CF teams on this important milestone!