If you have a student who likes coding, chances are you’ve heard of Code.org games. Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to building coding competencies and supporting students from underrepresented groups, is a common and useful site for learning how to code. Today we'll share two of Code.org’s great tools: Game Lab and App Lab. These two tools can be used to build Code.org games, and other applications and share them with friends! To learn how to make your own games, join our online intermediate game building class designed by experts from MIT and Google.
Explore Code.org Game Lab and App Lab
Code.org is a great resource for young coders who are just at the beginning of their programming education. The site offers fun games, development platforms, a safe way to share code and see peers’ work, and more. Every year, Code.org also hosts Hour of Code, a program which is used to crowdsource lots of great coding projects and can help introduce coding in schools or at home.
To get kids started with coding, Code.org offers two key in-browser applications: the Game Lab and the App Lab. Both applications are development environments that allow students to create their own programs using code blocks. There are many starter projects and walkthrough projects that are accessible to beginner coders, but plenty of options for intermediate or advanced students as well. App Lab is more suited to older, more experienced coders and offers a text-based coding option, while Game Lab is great for younger kids who want to get their feet wet.
To learn even more about making cool games, join a live online beginner-friendly coding class designed by experts from Google, Stanford, and MIT (once you've completed Scratch 2 you can even make Pokemon games!).
Discover Free Games on Code.org
In this section, we’ll look at several different Code.org games that you can play, customize, and modify. While there are many, many examples of Code.org games, these ones are both fun to experiment and interact with and great at teaching coding concepts.
Code your own sports game is a code.org application that walks you through using code blocks to build a simple game. You’ll start on level 1, solving increasingly more challenging puzzles until you have coded out a whole game.
This one’s pretty straightforward to start, as it is geared towards beginners and has clear directions. Follow the instructions at the top of the screen, and click “run” once you have placed your blocks to make the code work and pass the level. Sports game is great for students who have no experience programming and who want a directed approach to learning.
Dance Party is similar in feel to Sports Game in that it will guide you through the creation of a full program, block by block. Instead of a sports theme, however, you’re building characters that can dance to your favorite songs.
Once again, follow the instructions at the top of the screen to get started. This one’s a little more tricky than Sports Game, so make sure you feel confident in Sports Game first before moving on to this set of challenges. Don’t forget to pick your favorite song!
Reminiscent of “old internet,” Poke the Pig is a silly, yet entertaining program that can be easily modified. To play this game, click “run” and then poke the pig as many times as you can in ten seconds.
Poke the Pig is a great project to work on after you have mastered Sports Game and Dance Party. Want to make this game your own? Remix it and add to it! The comments in the code blocks offer ways to improve or enhance the existing game. You could also change the pig to a different animal, or even let the user choose which animal they’d like to see.
When learning how to code, drawing apps are a great way to get instant, visual feedback. That’s why we like code.org’s Slider Sketch. Slider Sketch is a digital Etch-a-Sketch that lets you draw pictures by moving your cursor left, right, up, and down. Create skylines, abstract art, or even write your name!
There are numerous ways you can customize this project. Remix it, and then experiment with different parameters. Can you figure out how to change the color of the pen? Examine the code blocks that use the slider as an input. Can you add a slider that allows the pen to move diagonally?
The Bounce Game is your typical, pong-style tennis game. As you play, you move your paddle back and forth to intercept the moving ball before it drops below the screen, and try to score points by aiming the ball at coins that appear. Be careful, though - the better you do, the faster the ball will move.
The code for this game is already written out completely, but you can remix and create your own version! Start by examining all the variables, defined in purple blocks at the top of the code, and change a few like paddleWidth or coinDiameter to change the game parameters. Can you figure out how to change the ball speed?
A classic intro coding project is creating a Choose Your Own Adventure or RPG-style story game. As a player, you read a story prompt and then pick your next move from the dropdown options menus below. Based on the choices you make, you’ll create your own, unique story!
Code.org’s Choose Your Own Adventure project can be customized or expanded in a ton of different ways. You can easily change the story, come up with a totally new theme, or add more options or paths. Make sure you explore not just the code tab, but also the design tab to change the existing story screens or add new ones.
The final project we recommend checking out is Code.org’s Voting App. In this application, you can poll your friends and create a pi chart which represents the results. The original asks you to vote “cat or dog?” but you can get creative here.
Remix this project and change up the polling question (and images that go with it). You can also add a third or fourth poll option, change the look of the application, or even experiment with different types of plots.
Get Started With Code.org Games
Today, we reviewed seven fun games and applications. If you enjoyed these programs, you may also like learning more about Scratch, an extremely popular block-coding language for beginners. Save your spot in one of our free Scratch Ninja classes to learn live from an expert in a fun small group setting!
Written by Sarah Rappaport, who graduated from Northwestern University with undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and music. She's now working on a masters in data with Georgia Institute of Technology. She taught math and computer science with Teach for America for two years, and now works as a Systems Engineer.