The Best Programming Games
Games For (Aspiring) Programmers!
Hey, can you program or would you like to learn how to? Would you like to put your skills to the test and perhaps even match them with others like you? Then you should definitely check out these awesome programming games.
These games are all actively supported, free and stable. They are also pretty educational, some (like Robocode) are even used by universities!
RoboZZle - A puzzle programming game
Robozzle is a singleplayer game where you need to instruct your arrow to collect all the stars in a level. This game is great if you feel like puzzling, is easy to learn and has a very active community.
RoboZZle is one of the simpler programming games though, and offers no interactivity with other players. Be sure to read on if you're looking for more advanced and competitive games.
Note: After you've seen the video on the homepage just click "Continue to limited version", if you don't have Microsoft Silverlight.
Robocode - Make battle tanks in Java!
Robocode is a popular freeware programming game where authors pit their creations against the included robots - and against Artificial Intelligences of other authors! The program has a 2D battlefield where you can put in robots and where all the action happens.
All robots are programmed in Java. Don't worry, there is an awesome collection of tutorials available on how to set Java up and put together your own robot. In fact, if you don't know Java yet this is a fun way to learn it! I found this game about a year ago, and playing with it made me realize I wanted to study Computer Science. :)
Robocode: See A Battle In Action! - A cool clip of advanced robots battling it out
RoboWar - The quick and the dead
RoboWar5 is an addictive programming game which is easy to get started with but very challenging to get good at. The game has its own built-in programming language and a large number of "hardware" options for your robot (including your own icons!). Fights can be over very fast: one good shot can completely destroy a robot. That's why it's important to make your robot move!
An interesting feature of this game is that different archetypes of robots have formed for it. For example, you can either try to let your robot win by attrition or by direct attack. Take a look at the video below and enjoy the action!
RoboWar: A Battle In Action!
GRobots - Not for the faint of heart
GRobots is one of the hardest, but perhaps most interesting, games I've come across. In it you design a "side"; a group of one or more types of robots that can work together to collect resources, defend and attack the opponent. The robots can have any number of hardware options (more means the robot is more expensive) and actions associated with them (for example; move, gestate or transfer energy).
The documentation is incomplete and therefore it's hard being a newbie. But run a few games and finish the newbie tutorial, and you'll be as addicted as I am. :)
Core War - A direct fight between codes
CoreWar is a programming game where your code fights to survive in the core, a piece of memory in a simulated computer. At the start of each round 2 codes ("warriors") from opposing authors are activated and try to find and disable the other code (for example by inserting "divide zero by zero" instructions, which cause an exception).
Although this game is certainly one of the best programming games, I must warn you that it has existed for almost three decades. As such, in that time people have created some pretty badass codes. My advice is: just try to defeat the sample codes! If you do, in my book, you already belong to the elites.
- Download the ARES simulator. There are multiple simulators, but I find this one the most intuitive.
- Read The beginners' guide to Redcode, CoreWar's programming language (not an easy feat!)
- Read the extensive information about Core War on Wikipedia.
- Submit your entry to a King Of The Hill server. Or better yet, challenge a friend!