Scratch Game Programming!

Late July and early August we had a small group of teens show up for some game programming using Scratch, and easy to use programming environment that lets you snap together blocks of code similar to Legos. Attendance may have been small, particularly for the second and third sessions, but the teens worked hard and were proud of what they'd made, so I still call that a success!

We started out by introducing the concept of code blocks with some simple examples from Code.org. In them, you're tasked with guiding a zombie from Plants Vs Zombies to a sunflower by placing the correct code blocks down. It's a fun little exercise that gets more challenging with each level, and tasks you to use the fewest code blocks possible to solve it. The teens caught on really quickly, and were having a good time with them too! You can try them out for yourself at the link below:

Two of the finished games are embedded after the break!

First up is Ultra Speed Pong. After the Code.org warm-up, the first thing we did during the first session was follow a tutorial to make a simple Pong clone. While I had thought people would want to move on and make something else afterwards, Ryan kept on refining and adding stuff to it. The end result is below, and can get pretty crazy as the ball speeds up each time it bounces. Player one uses the left and right arrow keys, and if you're playing two-player, they would use the 'a' and 's' keys. Mouse click on the green flag to start the games.

Next up is Dino Jump. Alex added a lot of nice touches to this simple auto-runner game such as a background that changes from day to night and some cool sound effects. Use the spacebar to make the dinosaur jump over the fire hydrants!

A big thanks to Ms Linda for agreeing to help with the program, having someone else with some coding knowledge to help when teens got stuck was a huge help! I really like being able to use technology to help kids and teens think critically and get creative, and making games really lets you do whatever you can think of! I look forward to doing more programs like this in the future!

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