15 games to help you learn programming

Learning to the program through books, courses, and videos can be boring, which can cause the student to lose motivation gradually. The solution to this problem can be games that captivate with their features. Competition and the level system make you look for useful chips and tricks of the selected programming language.

Hack ‘n’ Slash

This is an adventure game in which the player has to change the world around him. From the beginning of the game, the main character has a special sword capable of hacking objects around. As the game progresses, the player will find various artifacts with which it will be possible to influence the world.

And remember, the only way to win is to play … not by the rules!

During the passage, the player will hack global variables, solve various puzzles and riddles, change the properties of objects, customize creatures’ behavior, and change the environment. The game gives limited access to its code, which is why during its rewriting, you can break the level and “let the world fall apart.” To prevent this from happening, the game has the ability to go back in time and make other decisions.

Hack ‘n’ Slash gives knowledge about variables, how algorithms work, shows exactly how the code is at the heart of games, makes you analyze what is happening, and develops logic.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Download Hack ‘n’ Slash in Steam.

Bot school

In the story, the player must choose a bot friend who will help collect light sprites to restore the Lighthouse before the start of the festival. The task is complicated by the appearance of wild bots that interfere with movement and scare away sprites, so now you need to spend time collecting and getting rid of bad bots.

The game itself is aimed at children and those who are just starting to learn to program. During the passage, the player will learn how to build algorithms and understand how loops work.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start playing Bot School in browser

TIS-100

This is a game from Zachtronics, which has created good projects like SpaceChem and Infinifactory. Here you need to repair the damaged segments in Assembler and start the TIS-100 computer, and for this, you need to write a program for each segment following their functions, which are the issued tasks.

The game also provides a reference manual describing how the TIS-100 works and resembles old manuals from the 80s in its appearance. In addition, after a successful repair of the computer, statistics are displayed on the screen with the successes of other players, who, most likely, solved the task much easier. Thus, the goal of the TIS-100 is not only to fix the computer but also to minimize the code.

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πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Download TIS-100 in Steam, GOG, and App Store.

Apple Swift Playgrounds

Swift Playgrounds is an iPad and Mac app that lets you learn Swift in an interactive and fun way. This app is perfect for beginners. Here the student will solve puzzles to learn the basics and then move on to more difficult levels.

Swift is a programming language created by Apple and used by professionals to create today’s most popular applications.

The app contains a set of lessons developed by Apple. In the game itself, you need to write code to guide the character through the 3D world. The player will constantly develop their knowledge, gradually creating more complex code.

Also, if the player has a Sphero, Dash, MeeBot, AirDrop, or Tello EDU drone, then he can program the robot to perform certain actions depending on the model. The student can share their codes and achievements via mail or AirDrop, and friends can view the code in Swift Playgrounds and even develop it by adding their own changes.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Download Swift Playgrounds in App Store.

CodeMonkey

Here you will need to program the monkey to return its bananas, previously stolen by the gorilla, back. Python and CoffeeScript are available for students to study.

Students will learn different concepts of computer science during their studies, such as loops, variables, functions, conditions, and much more. The game has levels with varying difficulty and will be interesting for both children and adults, although it was primarily aimed at younger students.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Download CodeMonkey at Google Play, Microsoft Store, or start playing browser.

Check iO

There are many islands in this game that offer the player tasks of different types and difficulties. He must solve them with code written in Python or TypeScript and thus gradually discover new islands. There are also learning stages in Check iO that, as they are unlocked, offer new activities.

There are three stages in total:

  1. Learning – in it you need to complete tasks of varying complexity. At this stage, the description of each task contains all the reference materials that will help in the solution.
  2. Score Games is a single player game that cannot be won. Here, the goal is to be able to score the maximum number of points per level.
  3. Competition, or multiplayer, in which you need to write your own game, which will then compete with the games of other users.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start playing Check iO in browser.

Code Combat

  • Python, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, C ++

In Code Combat, before the start of the game, the player chooses a hero and a programming language. Python, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, and C ++ are available for study. The player will have to go through many dungeons, mining crystals, and fighting enemies. Absolutely all actions that the hero performs are written in the chosen programming language.

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The game was created specifically for schoolchildren, but it is also perfect for adults. In about 20 hours of play, you can learn most of the basic concepts of web development.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start playing Code Combat in browser.

Robocode

  • Java, Kotlin, Scala, Mirah, Clojure

This is a game in which you have to program a robotic tank for arena battles. Robocode teaches Java programming, but other languages ​​such as Kotlin or Scala are also possible. The player himself is the programmer of the robot and has no direct influence on the game. The only thing that needs to be done is to write the AI ​​of the robot and explain to him how to behave in the arena and how to react correctly to what is happening. Battles take place in real-time.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Download Robocode in SourceForge.

Edabit

  • C ++, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python and 3 more others

You will spend a huge number of hours on completing tasks without any “feeling of guilt for the time spent on the games.”

Edabit has over ten thousand tasks that are suitable for both beginners and advanced coders. Tasks are of different difficulty levels: from “Very Easy” to “Expert,” and they can be solved in eight programming languages.

For each problem solved, the player receives experience points and gradually increases his level, opening up new opportunities and competing with other users for the first place in the rating. Edabit also offers helpful links to resources that can help you solve a problem and challenge yourself in the practice section by solving a series of problems without any prompts.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start playing Edabit in browser.

CodinGame

  • Java, Python, Ruby, C, Go and 20 more

This is a collection of different games that supports 25 programming languages, including Java, Python, C ++, Perl, Bash, Pascal. You can find puzzles, multiplayer battles, and interesting tasks based on artificial intelligence on the site.

Naturally, to win, you need to write code in your chosen programming language. Under each game, you can find rules and background information to help you play through the games. The player can have fun with friends or work colleagues, take part in international online competitions and, of course, get into the leaderboard.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start playing CodinGame in browser.

CodeWars

  • Clojure, SQL, C ++, Haskell, Java and 50 more

Another collection, but about 55 languages ​​are already available here, 26 of which are currently in beta testing. CodeWars offers to solve kats with your own coding style and improve your programming skills.

Kata is a programming exercise that helps programmers hone their skills through practice and repetition.

The kats themselves are evaluated by approximate difficulty. While the player completes tasks and moves up the “career ladder,” CodeWars analyzes the results and selects tasks suitable for the player’s level. Also, the user can compare their solutions with those of others after each solved kata, discuss the problem itself, and new solution techniques with the community.

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In addition to kat solutions, the player can create their own, focused on developing specific programming skills.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start playing CodeWars at the browser.

Screeps

A fairly well-known MMO strategy in its circles. The main mechanic in the game is programming the AI ​​units from the player’s colony in JavaScript to develop the colony and protect the base.

This colony lives 24/7 in real-time, which means that something can happen to the colony, even if the player is offline. Even though the game implies programming in JavaScript, it is possible to manage the colony in C, C ++, or Rust using WebAssembly.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Download Screeps in Steam or play the demo in browser.

Elevator Saga

A simple game that teaches the JavaScript language. The game’s goal is straightforward – you need to program the movements of the elevators for the most efficient transportation of people. If problems arise while writing the code, you can refer to the documentation directly on the site. In this game, the first place is not the language itself but the ability to analyze and think through moves in advance, after which you can start writing code.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start playing Elevator Saga in browser.

CSSBattle

There are many different tasks in CSSBattle, some easy and others difficult. The very idea of ​​the game is straightforward: there are one or more images, and the player needs to render the image using HTML and CSS. The task is complicated by the limited amount of time you need to create the most identical picture while writing the minimum possible code.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start playing CSSBattle at browser.

Lego mindstorms

Lego Mindstorms is a constructor for creating a programmable robot. After assembling the robot, you need to download the special EV3 Home application to your computer, tablet, or phone and then connect the gadget to the robot.

The programming itself is carried out using a set of action blocks available for the connected model, which can be alternated and customized to your taste while simultaneously gaining basic programming knowledge and developing logical thinking.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Download the Lego Mindstorms app Google play, App Store, Microsoft Store, and with official site.

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