Learning to program/code is such an important skill these days. But it’s not always the most approachable subject. It’s important to try and start learning skills like this early, but there aren’t quite as many interesting tools for this as I’d like. Not as many options. What about people who want to learn to program but don’t have the software or anything to work on? What options do they have? Enter Codomo, a technology company down in Singapore. This month they started a Kickstarter project (link right here) to a game called Potato Pirates! Are you a teacher who wants to introduce programming to their class, or just want to hang out with your friends and play a fun card game while also learning something useful? Then you need this in your life.
I love this idea. It’s about ten hours of programming crammed into a half hour card game. The art is adorable, and the gameplay seems to make a lot of sense. It’s not all programming slang either, it also features “Potato Slang”. You have to Mash, Fry, and Roast the other potatoes and save the Potatoe King! This is adorable. To win, you have to collect all seven Potato King cards or be the last Potato Standing. This is a very clever idea, and it looks like a lot of fun for programming enthusiasts or even people who just want something new and clever in their lives. It’s over 200% funded and they’re working on another stretch goal. Regardless of your first language, Potato Pirates is an accessible way for kids the world over to learn more about the world of computer programming in an engaging environment. This is a game I’d definitely like to see picked up in schools in my own area. Here’s a brief blurb on how this game works:
“In this game, you play as a potato pirate and start with 2 ships along with 10 potato crew each. To win the game, you have to save Potato King by collecting all 7 Potato King cards hidden randomly in the deck. Either that or you could just eliminate everyone else in the game. To attack other pirates, you equip your ships with action cards such as “Roast”, “Mash” or “Fry”. Combine them with control cards such as “For” and “While” loops to power up your attacks. Once you are ready, send your ships for battle. Beware of surprise cards such as “Hijack” and “Deny” that might foil your crafty plans. Through the game, you will learn about fundamental computer programming concepts such as functions, for loops, while loops, if-else conditionals, nested loops, boolean statements and many more.”
They’ve had playtest sessions with Google/Microsoft and in a variety of schools and settings. What they have found is that 78% gained confidence in learning to program after playing this game. 9 out of 10 showed a significant improvement in the understanding of fundamental programming concepts after an hour of play. There was also an 85% spike of interest in programming after playing the game. This is a wonderful success rate. In the 21st century, programming is an essential skill and starting at an early age is key. Sure you can pick it up as an adult, but imagine what children could uncover, starting at a nice early age. But who wants to just read from a book or type on a keyboard all day? New ways to learn like this are a godsend. If you’re a teacher, or a parent or even someone who wants to program for yourself, please consider this. No matter your age, it promises to entertain and educate at the same time.