I have been teaching the design and programming of Interactive Fiction (IF) since the early nineties. I have taught both children and adults. The only limiting factor I have found is the ability to spell consistently and pay attention to punctuation.
The learning curve for authoring IF is bumpy but not steep. I like it when the narrative ambitions of my students push them through whatever discomfort they feel about writing the code.
Escape is essentially an IF code generator. A player who “wins” this game is rewarded with a text file of Inform 7 code they can use as the basis for a more developed game. They will find that they understand how to write the code almost magically. That’s the idea anyway. This is my first pass at it. See what you think.