September 22, 2023

Programming games are fun! Period. The more you code, the more you learn while playing your favorite games.

You should set aside time to play these coding games and challenges. Not only do they serve as fun breaks, but you’ll learn faster and retain more info, thanks to the hands-on practice and game development experience.


Ready to code while you play these coding games?


Robocode is complex, but it’s one of the best programming games in the market. It has you coding robot tanks and pitting them against each other. Your job is to write the artificial intelligence code that drives your robots to success—using programming languages like Java, Scala, C#, and more. To get started, check out the Robocode Basics and Tutorials on Robowiki.

The Robocode installer includes a development environment, a built-in robot editor, and a Java compiler. Despite launching in 2000, the developers regularly update Robocode, even though it’s open-source and addictive.


CodinGame is one of the best coding games, with a game-like web app where you solve puzzles and challenges by writing actual code. It supports over 25 programming languages, including Java, C#, Python, JavaScript, Lua, Go, and Rust. Each puzzle or challenge has a theme (e.g., program the turret to shoot down airships that come too close), which kicks up the fun factor.

Languages like C#, Rust, Lua, and C/C++ rank high among the list of Unity-compatible languages for game development.


CodeCombat is another web app for game-like puzzles and challenges you can only solve by writing code. But while CodinGame is more entertaining, CodeCombat has a significant educational angle with a Classroom Edition. Teachers can use it to help their students learn how to code by designing programming games.

There are three course paths available to pursue: Computer Science, Web Development, and Game Development.


Codewars isn’t a programming game but a gamified way to practice coding and solve algorithmic challenges. You get points for completing puzzles, and the efficiency of your solutions determines the point values. You can view solutions submitted by others, which is a great way to learn programming.

vim adventures

Vim Adventures is a fun game-like coding game for beginners, especially if you want to learn how to use Vim, an unusual but powerful text editor within the programming fraternity.

Since Vim has a steep learning curve, many programming games are available to help beginners grasp the nuances of this powerful tool. While Vim isn’t a programming language per se, mastering Vim can help you become an efficient coder.

6. TIS-100

“It’s the assembly language programming game you never asked for!”—it says so on the tin.

TIS-100 is a coding game that forces you to learn and use a mock version of low-level assembly code to solve its puzzles. This programming game is not a joke, since it’s difficult and open-ended. It has incredible replay value until you don’t get frustrated and confused.

Download: TIS-100 ($6.99)

7. Shenzhen I/O

Shenzhen I/O has a common developer base with TIS-100 and is a puzzle-based programming game. The game entails creating basic circuits and writing simplified assembly code for successful execution.

Shenzhen I/O is easier to use and more enjoyable between the two games since it offers the same air of satisfying complexity.

Download: Shenzhen I/O ($14.99)

8. Human Resource Machine

In Human Resource Machine, you are an office worker who completes tasks by combining various instructions. In a sense, this game is all about puzzle-solving through visual programming, even going as far as to touch on concepts like logical flow and memory management—but presented in an easy-to-digest, office-themed way.

It’s a great game for exercising your programmer’s brain, and can even make a good coding game for kids, too.

Download: Human Resource Machine ($14.99)

9. Screeps

Screeps (which stands for scripted creeps) is an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) strategy game where you use JavaScript to code the behaviors of in-game entities and build an empire for yourself. The game is one of the best coding games and was released in 2017.

The base game has a private server to play independently, plus 30 days of full access to the official server. After that, you can keep playing on the official server in a limited capacity, or get full access with a monthly subscription.

It’s an ideal programming game, with an unending focus on learning, especially if you want to understand the nuances of game coding.

Download: Screeps ($14.99, optional subscription available)

Black screen with gaming instructions

Guide Dr. Eval through a machine continuum within Untrusted to help him gain freedom. However, it can’t be all that simple, right? You must use your JavaScript skills to navigate each game level in this coding game.

You can use the programming game’s gaming environment and console to write and modify the JavaScript codes. Untrusted gives you access to all the source code; however, to progress further, you must make changes to the source code, without which it is impossible to move ahead.

Elevator Saga website interface showing code snippets and buttons

Elevator Saga is another delight for JavaScript enthusiasts who want to improve their programming skills. This coding game has various programming challenges, wherein you must carry out different challenges with people and elevators.

As you move through the levels, you need to apply your coding skills and optimized algorithms to reduce the waiting time for your elevator travelers. The most promising aspect of the game is its basic UI; just enter your code in the input window and click Apply.

Other Ways to Sharpen Your Coding Skills

Looking for even more ways to hone your programming ability? You may benefit from listening to some podcasts for coders and developers.

You can also start making your own programming games with free game development tools. If you’re looking for a suitable way for your children to get into coding, you may consider some great coding classes and programming games.

However, if, after everything, you’re still struggling and can’t seem to grasp the basics of coding video games, you may want to step back and consider whether programming is the right choice for you.