Categories : Weekly Blog
Programming is becoming ever more important in today’s world. With many services and tasks becoming digital, the ability to both understand and write code is certainly not getting less crucial anytime soon!
Currently, there are several events designed to get people of all ages introduced to coding, such as Hour of Code and Europe Code Week. These events are a great way to get into coding with the support of an international community.
Here at TeacherGaming, we are all about learning through gameplay, so read on below for a list of some great games to use during Code Week:
Aimed at younger children, Switch & Glitch is a great way to get into the programming mindset from an early age. Designed to be accessible for children, the gameplay centers around giving commands to robots. The catch is that these are step-by-step commands and not direct movement input as in most games. This means that gameplay consists of giving sequences of tasks to the robots, such as “move forward, move forward, turn right, move forward” - in essence, using a visual programming interface.
Just like with programming, any error in the list of commands will make the robot lose its way. Up to six commands are given at a time to create a small program for the robot to execute, and the cute robots carry out these commands to the letter. Additionally, players will need to determine whether to complete bonus tasks or try to pass through each level as quickly as possible. Switch & Glitch is a great initial introduction to thinking like a programmer.
Switch & Glitch is available for free on iOS, Android and desktop platforms through app stores or TeacherGaming Desk.
Planetoid Pioneers is a platformer game - that is to say, an adventure where the gameplay revolves around jumping and exploration - with its own unique hook. Everything in the game can be altered by the player, ranging from the graphics to all of the game’s mechanics. Want to swap out how your character and the environment looks? Go for it. Want your character to be able to jump higher? Nobody is stopping you.
The most amazing thing about Planetoid Pioneers’ customizability is that you will need to learn Lua programming to access its most advanced features. The combination of the near-limitless potential of the game’s editor and the instant payoff of seeing changes you make to the game take effect mean that players have a readily accessible and rewarding way to learn coding. While Lua scripting can be somewhat challenging, especially with advanced tasks, the game has many easier customization opportunities as well, making sure that players will not become frustrated even if they have difficulty pulling something off.
Planetoid Pioneers is available for desktop platforms through TeacherGaming Desk or Steam.
FazGame provides an easy way to make your own point-and-click adventure games. While the game features no literal programming, its flowchart-based system is based on the kind of logic and mechanics that programs are built upon. To make a working project in FazGame, you will need both careful planning and playtesting. Even complex creations are possible with the tools provided by the game.
Here’s an example of the tools you can utilize in FazGame: dialog with multiple choices, items to pick up and use, and multiple scenes and locations. The simple mechanics belie the inherent possibilities, and mastering FazGame will make it that much easier to begin programming your adventure games.
FazGame is available free for browsers through TeacherGaming Desk.
The most important thing to remember is that just getting into the right mindset and putting your fingers to the keyboard are really the only things you need to start coding. There isn’t a single Holy Grail of a game that would be the ultimate learning-to-code tool: each one emphasizes different approaches, skills and strengths. Just remember to make coding fun and keep your students learning!