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10 games for pumping programming skills

Today, the profession of a programmer is very much in demand. But learning to program doesn’t come easy for everyone. Some experienced developers, when asked where it is better to learn a programming language or framework, send to the official documentation, which confuses those who want to learn to code. Many beginners simply get lost in piles of dry information on the pages of web resources and textbooks. Another thing is learning through games.

The game approach makes it possible to simply and unobtrusively develop the skills necessary for the coder. Learning to the program through games can help not only a “green” beginner to master the basics but also an intermediate programmer to reach the heights of skill.

The concept of gamification

Gamification (or gamification) means the “reincarnation” of the elements of the game in any kind of activity, for example, marketing, business, workflow. A distinction is made between full and partial gamification. In the first case, the game is a way to achieve the goal, and in the second, the game elements perform an auxiliary function.

Among the successful gamification projects, it is worth highlighting:

  • Duolingo is a platform for learning foreign languages.
  • The Chosen Analyst is a development of the consulting company Deloitte for onboarding and adaptation of new analysts.
  • DME Live 2.0 is an online simulator of airport management from Domodedovo specialists.
  • Bonus Banking Game is an online game from Extraco Bank to increase customer engagement in Internet banking.
  • Equilibrium is a game using the Wii Balance Board game controller to help treat children with musculoskeletal disorders.

Consider the effectiveness of the application of gamification in education.

Why Gamification Is Useful in Learning

According to a number of studies, play is a natural form of learning for the human species. Gamification in education contributes to:

  • better assimilation of information – the degree of its retention reaches 30%, while when listening we remember only 20% of the material, and when reading – and at all 10%;
  • increase in the level of involvement – the indicator increases by 60% compared to the traditional way of learning;
  • reinforcement of initiative – students not only accept information, but also independently obtain it thanks to the reward system.

Experimenting, trying, failing, and overcoming oneself during the game learning process is a formula familiar to us for thousands of years. It applies to both children and adults. Learning new skills in this way and honing existing ones is even more fun in the company.

But despite the advantages of the gamified approach, you should not completely neglect the traditional way of learning. The latter has its advantages, and it is often possible to achieve the highest results only by combining both methods.

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10 games to improve the skills of programmers and developers

Below is a selection of great games for beginners and experienced coders. There are both paid and free projects. To help you make a choice, we’ve highlighted the pros and cons of each listed product.

7 Billion Humans

It is the sequel to the successful indie project Human Resource Machine from developer Tomorrow Corporation. The game is charming and original, and most importantly, with humor.

This time the player will have to manage not one office worker, but a whole squad. The main goal of the game is to introduce you to the multithreading of processes. There is no need to write code here – everything is simpler: it is necessary to choose logical blocks from the proposed ones and build them in the correct sequence. Such simplicity will appeal not only to adults, but also to children.

Programming language: the studio’s own development, similar to the assembly language.

Advantages:

  • simplicity and accuracy of the interface;
  • a non-stressful plot;
  • a lot of humor on the topic of office life and not only;
  • suitable for teaching children the basics of programming.

Disadvantages:

  • in Russian translation, IF and ELSE have evolved into IF and OTHERWISE;
  • there is no possibility to miss the starting screensaver, dialogues at the beginning of the levels, a number of animations in the game itself.

Price: $14.99 on Steam.

While True: Learn ()

In this game, you have to visit the skin of a specialist in neural networks and machine learning. At one point, the main character notices that his cat copes with the work better. And now the player must help the character create a translator from a cat!

There is no need to write any code here – in fact, all management is tied to mouse clicks. Gameplay involves connecting computing units and configuring their filters. The developers assure that the gameplay is based on real problems that are solved by specialists in neural networks around the world.

Programming language: none.

Advantages:

  • the basics of neural networks, machine learning and artificial intelligence in an accessible form;
  • good in-game jokes;
  • integration with training courses;
  • suitable for both adults and children.

Disadvantage: there are no hints during the solution of tasks.

Price: $12.99 on Steam.

CSS Diner

A simple but fun browser game that will help you master CSS selectors. The player can complete 32 levels in succession or choose a level to complete manually. With each level, the complexity of the task increases.

CSS style sheet language.

Advantages:

  • easy start of training;
  • simplicity of user-friendly interface.

Disadvantage: Only some aspects of CSS are presented.

Price: freeware.

JavaRush

JavaRush is a platform for those who want to learn the Java programming language. The service provides a choice between three ways of learning, among which you can choose a gamified one. The course consists of 80% practice, it is divided into 40 levels and takes more than 500 hours of time. At your service 1200 practical tasks of increasing complexity and their instant verification.

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Programming language: Java.

Advantages:

  • successful combination of theory and practice;
  • practical tasks;
  • friendly style of presentation of the material;
  • simple interface;
  • the possibility of learning from scratch.

Disadvantage: Only Java.

Price: Free Starter Level, $30 for a Monthly Premium Subscription and $50 for a Premium Pro.

CodeCombat

It’s a whole platform for learning programming. It is designed for students aged 9 to 16 years. The service offers ready-made solutions for teachers, parents and children.

Thanks to an interesting browser game, students will be able to master the skills of web development, computer science, game development. The journey begins with learning how to move a character by writing code. Tasks and puzzles become more complicated as you progress through the game. There are inventory, experience points, special skills and much more.

Programming languages: the main ones are Python and JavaScript; experimental (by subscription) — CoffeeScript, Lua, Java; C++.

Advantages:

  • lightweight – fast operation on outdated devices;
  • you can start learning completely from scratch;
  • suitable for children;
  • competitive programming within its own esports league.

Disadvantage: Voluminous, but overflowing with text in-game hints.

Price: Free basic levels and a monthly Premium subscription for $3.99 or an annual subscription for $99.

Untrusted

Do not confuse this project with the game of the same name on Steam, released in 2021. Untrusted was born through the efforts of Alex Nisnevich and Greg Shaflin. It is an adventure game with the main character in the person of Dr. Eual.

The character is displayed on the screen with a simple @ symbol, and the entire space around it in the game window is built from other symbols. On the right is a console with which the player changes the JavaScript code of the game window. Thus, you need to go through more than 20 levels to finally free the protagonist from the so-called machine continuum.

Programming language: JavaScript.

Advantages:

  • exciting gameplay;
  • distinctive design;
  • cute soundtrack;
  • good comments in the code.

Disadvantage: reference solutions of puzzles are not presented.

Price: free.

CodeWars

Thanks to the CodeWars online platform, you can work out your skills to the level of an experienced programmer. The service is stylized as a place for training martial arts fighters. The exercises here are called “kata” – just like a separate sequence of movements for imitation and study in karate. The better the problem solving code is optimized, the greater the reward.

The user starts his journey from the lowest rank – 8 kyu. You can add allies from other users. And in the “Kumite” mode, you can sparring with another encoder.

55 programming languages, of which 29 are basic.

Advantages:

  • start with your current level of knowledge;
  • the presence of exciting tasks and the ability to increase your own rank;
  • the ability to offer your own options for solving problems to other users and view their suggestions;
  • can be used by companies when hiring employees.
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Disadvantage: the need for at least basic knowledge of the language.

Price: freeware.

CheckIO

A browser game created by a very small group of designers and developers, which is replete with a lot of fun tasks and puzzles. The in-game space is an uncharted sea with a number of fictional islands. By completing tasks on one island, you will unlock access to a new destination.

Two programming languages: TypeScript and Python.

Advantages:

  • interesting and exciting tasks;
  • the ability to share the results with other users;
  • useful for both beginners and experienced programmers.

Disadvantages:

  • the heavy site of the game may slow down;
  • navigation is not always easy.

Price: freeware.

Robocode

One of the most famous and oldest games in the genre, Robocode has acquired a cult status among coders. This open source project provides a simple interface with which to create a combat robot tank. First, the player develops the logic of the actions of the future machine – its artificial intelligence. Then the creation is released into the arena so that it can fight in battle with the robotic wards of other users.

Programming languages: Java and .Net.

Advantages:

  • exciting and addictive gameplay;
  • the basics of robotics and artificial intelligence are given in an accessible and unobtrusive way;
  • multiplayer mode.

Disadvantage: narrow focus is limited exclusively to tank battles.

Price: freeware.

Screeps

This game is similar to the previous one, but takes the concept to a new level. Screeps stands for scripting creeps. It is a real-time strategy (MMO RTS) in the open world.

But you will not be able to select units with the mouse and order them to do something – you need to program the creeps in advance. Your colony collects resources on its own, builds units, conquers territories and trades with other colonies. And all this is possible on the network with other users!

Programming languages: JavaScript and other languages available through WebAssembly: C, C++, C#, TypeScript, Go, etc.

Advantages:

  • player-created AI controls units in 24/7 mode;
  • the ability to create your own server, modify the rules of the game and play on a local network or via the internet with friends;
  • the slow pace of the game allows you to debug scripts in real time.

Disadvantage: you need to have basic knowledge of the language.

Price: $14.99 on Steam.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many interesting and useful games for learning programming and improving the skills of developers. Which one to choose is up to you. Decide on the programming language, calculate your budget, choose a convenient form of submission – and go ahead, to knowledge!

Shubham

Written by Shubham

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