Coding is a hot topic, whether it’s Google pushing for a new generation of coders or the UK Government adding programming to the curriculum; computer science is officially a good thing.
Hackstage Pass isn’t the BBC’s first foray into coding games but the neat thing about this effort is the sheer playability. It’s a game first and a teaching tool second. No carts before the horses here. Run different DJs through a classic platform environment and when you hit trouble, hack your way out by tweaking gameplay values like jump height and forward movement.
Playable on various platforms, two modes cater for different tastes, one with plenty of levels and the other a fiendish endless runner. The interface takes some getting used to but it’s the simplest we’ve seen and really drills home the basics of programming.
Why we love it
- Simple system that doesn’t overload the player
- Great example of HTML5 going multi-platform
- Playful art style
Play it online via most devices
Untrusted is a lo-fi adventure game which challenges you to escape from a series of increasingly cryptic puzzle rooms by editing the very code that is running the game in your web browser.
With its atmospheric electronic soundtrack and authentic ASCII-art aesthetic, Untrusted evokes the feel of classic cyberpunk literature and hacker culture, while also helping players improve their programming skills. There has been a wave of games exploring programming concepts recently, but what makes Untrusted stand out is its focus on getting players to really think like a programmer. With a strong emphasis on reading unfamiliar code and modifying it through the creative use of a limited set of commands, the game helps budding coders to develop the core problem solving skills that are transferable to any programming language.
Why we love it:
- Retro aesthetic gives the game an authentic hacker feel.
- Open-ended design means there are many solutions.
- Modifying code makes you think like a programmer.
- The game’s code is open source and downloadable.