Learning about coding will give you the tools to make a video game, but did you know playing games can teach you to code?
While some may simply contain stories inspired by the world of coding, others teach players how to code with problem solving, critical thinking, and of course fun. Ever since the 1984 release of Lee Kristofferson’s video game System 1500, coding students and enthusiasts alike have been playing video games that trade in hit combos for sequences.
Want to play a game that challenges your knowledge of coding? Here are 10 video games about coding that we recommend you check out.
10. Shenzhen I/O
In this 2016 video game you play as an electronics engineer who takes a new role in Shenzhen, China. Those who also enjoy the world of electronics should play this game since it doesn’t only incorporate assembly language but real-life circuitry as well.
Developed my Microsoft Research, CodeHunt challenges players to solve puzzles using both C# and Java.
8. Human Resource Machine
For a fun introduction to the world of programming, the Tomorrow Corporation’s 2017 game Human Resource Machine is the game for you. The game is also available to play on the Nintendo Switch. That’s right, you can practice coding on your Nintendo.
7. 7 Billion Humans
When you’ve finally mastered Human Resource Machine, you can move on to a tougher challenge. 7 Billion Humans contains even more levels than its predecessor and requires managing whole groups of workers as opposed to one at a time.
A game that teaches chemistry and programming, SpaceChem puts you inside a reactor and requires players to create visual programs that keep reactors running smoothly. This is a pretty difficult game, Homer Simpson need not apply.
5. Vim Adventures
Who knew you could save the world with a text editor? But in Vim Adventures you do just that, all while learning Vim.
4. Hack ‘N’ Slash
Most video games don’t lay its pieces out on the table for players to mix, match, and customize. Hack ‘N’ Slash takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda series but differs in the way it allows a player to change their character’s attributes by accessing the game’s source code.
In 2018, Zachtronics released a game set in the apocalyptic world of 1997, not our 1997 of course but an alternate one. Players must hack into computer systems to complete missions given to them by an unknown A.I. The game is so in-depth it allows players from all over to compete and even contains its own fictional news publication.
Completing puzzles with coding can be difficult enough but add in a late 1970’s computer and you’ve got quite a game on your hands.
While System 1500 paved the way for games about coding, it was Activision’s 1985 game Hacker that proved games about programming could hook all types of gamers. The story is something about of a 1980’s film, with secret servers, international incidents, and security breaches that keep players entertained as they work at solving complex puzzles.
The games listed above are available on a variety of platforms including the Nintendo Switch, PC (through Steam), or as open source software you can play for free. You can’t learn everything you need to know about coding from a video game, but they can test your abilities and make you better at solving problems, which only helps you get to the next level in life.