Improve your Coding with These 6 Awesome Games and Challenges


Learning to code from scratch or improving upon existing skills can be tough – especially if you’re doing it all by yourself. Spending the time alone in front of a computer screen learning something that can be frustrating and hard to get. That doesn’t exactly qualify as many people’s favourite way to spend the evening.

But do you know what is super fun? Playing games and competing in challenges. Fortunately, you can do that and improve your coding skills at the same time!

Gamification is a trend that feeds upon the satisfaction our brains receive when playing games in order to help us learn while having fun.

Here are 6 of the coolest ways to challenge yourself, play games and become a better coder at the same time:

1. Codemonkey

Starting from the simplest game you can play on the internet to learn how to code, Codemonkey is definitely at the top of most lists. It uses CoffeeScript, a real but simplified programming language and teaches HTML5. It’s generally aimed at kids, but if you’re an absolute beginner at coding who likes cute animals and saving the world by catching bananas, it might be something for you, too. Pricing currently starts at 3.25 US dollars a month.

2. Ruby Warrior

Ruby Warrior is a game that you can play in your browser in which you control a warrior and give them commands to move, climb a tower and battle enemies. Your commands are all written out in Ruby. The game is fun, starts out easy with included tips, but gets progressively harder over time. If you like browser-based games, this one will definitely appeal to you. And learning Ruby is kind of a niche thing that Ruby Warrior has managed to settle itself in. The best part? It’s completely free!

3. CodeCombat

CodeCombat is a classic game of swords and sorcery with programming added to the mix. You can learn Python, JavaScript, CoffeeScript and others to control warriors, engage in battle with other players and throw spells at them. There are also tutorials to help you along the way. CodeCombat is a community-based project, meaning a lot of people are working on it or have done so in the past – this ensures a variety of constantly updated challenges. The basic version is free to play, extras cost 9.99 US dollars a month at this point in time.

4. CheckIO

If you’re looking to learn a lot of Python and JavaScript with a single game, look no further than CheckIO. Here, you can master programming challenges, which look like islands in-game. To move on to the next one, you complete missions by solving a series of puzzles. There are hints and instructions in ten different languages. And if you’re really looking for a challenge, you can even design some islands yourself! Again, the basic version is free and accessing some extras will cost you 2.99 US dollars monthly.

5. Codewars

Unlike our previous entries, Codewars isn’t a game per se. It does have gamification elements like honor points and leaderboards. But at its core, Codewars is a place where you can challenge others. Before you start a challenge, you have to prove that you know the basics of the language by doing a simple test. Codewars isn’t the place for beginners, but competing to others can really help push your skills to the next level.

You can currently compete in 20 different languages, which is pretty insane. There are also crowdsourced challenges, where you can allow others to contribute by forking their own code in, which will prepare you for Github if that’s a place you’re interested in visiting. This one is free, so there is really no reason to not at least give it a try!

6. Dash

Like Codewars, Dash isn’t really a game. It is rather an online tool for learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript. However, it does have a gamification aspect in it. Dash uses fictional projects to help you learn how to code. Here’s an example: One project is about building a personal website for a fictional friend of yours called Anna. The project is separated into different steps and is very similar to how a freelancing project would be set out. That is great practice! There are 82 skills to unlock by going through the checkpoints of the different projects, each one increasing in difficulty as you progress. Dash is also completely free!

Are you looking to learn some new coding languages or improve your skills in the ones you already know? Try these games out and let us know how you liked them in the comments section below this article!

Viktor Marinov

Viktor is the voice behind the freelancermap blog. Every week he comes up with helpful hints, checklists, and guides for freelancers and independent workers. If you would like to know how to find remote jobs online or how to niche yourself as a freelancer, don't miss his freelancer tips!

By Viktor Marinov

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