Originally started as a research project in programming models for children in 2006, Roku proved to be so much fun for both kids and their teachers, that it took the form you see today.
The idea is a program that makes it easy to design and program a game is nothing new; software like RPG Maker, for instance, has been available for a number of years. But Roku is a bit different, with a more visual and game-like feel to it, designed as a palette to let users create cool interactive experiences with little effort.
Roku will come with a bunch of "mini-games" packed in from the start, templates which should give potential designers ideas for their own projects. But it will also come with "Starter Worlds," included to spark creativity and give designers a jumping point, versus simply throwing an intimidating blank canvas at novice designers.