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Secondary Computer Science – Retro Game Programming with MakeCode Arcade

July 22, 2020

Secondary students in Mr. Andrei’s computing classes were given a “test drive” of an exciting new system for young people to learn computer science: MakeCode Arcade.

MakeCode Arcade is a web site by Microsoft that provides the easiest, most fun tools yet for kids to create their own arcade-style games, from space shooters to platform jumpers to anything else they can dream up. Students drag and drop blocks to represent game logic, and use the built-in graphics editors to make characters and game levels.

The games students create can be played in the web browser or downloaded to a “DIY game console” such as the MeowBit or PyGamer, of which Mr. Andrei has purchased a couple of examples. Imagine being able to play a game you wrote yourself, on a game console you can put in your pocket!

Students who found the one-period “test drive” were invited to join Mr. Andrei’s after-school “Camp”, where a free MeowBit console would be awarded to the creator of the best game.

Students were highly engaged in the activity and everybody made at least one game. However, surprisingly sign-up numbers were not high enough to go forward with the Camp this time. Oh well – maybe next year!

Text by Mr. Andrei Androsoff

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