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12 fun coding games to build your programming skills

20 Sep 2023

Learning new skills doesn’t always have to be about work. Here is a list of coding games for those who want a challenge but not a chore.

Gaming is a great way of teaching yourself a new skill like coding. For one thing, it’s stimulating for your brain and your sense of competitiveness. And it is also a handy way of practising the code tasks the game is teaching you.

As you might expect, learning to code through games is popular, so there are a lot of games to choose from. This is our pick of the current crop.

7 Billion Humans

This game is a sequel to the already popular Human Resource Machine Game developed by Tomorrow Corporation. Both are centred around office life. The object of the game is to solve puzzles for office workers using code. It’s available to purchase on Steam and it is suitable for beginners.


A web-based game, CodeCombat is geared towards kids, but that doesn’t mean adults should discount it. It can be a fun way for parents and kids to learn coding at the same time. It also has services for teachers who want to use it for the classroom.


CodeKarts is aimed at very young children and its interface is appropriately brightly-coloured. It challenges little coders to code routes for cars to go around a track and finish an obstacle course. Some levels are free to play, while others are paid.


This free, web-based game is great as players can choose from more than 25 languages like Java, Python and C++. It’s completely free and more geared towards adults than some of the other games on this list. It invites players to play on their coffee break, for example. It was also developed by CoderPad, a company that connects tech firms with tech talent.

Elevator Saga

A very simple way to give your JavaScript skills a lift, this game requires you to beat the clock as you bring people from floor to floor in an elevator. You can progress through the various levels, but the first challenge, for example, requires players to code a solution that takes 15 people in 60 seconds or less.

Flexbox Froggy

For frog and whimsy fans, this game is all about helping a frog reach his lily pad using the power of CSS code. You can play it on the web and it is free.

Grid Garden

This game looks really similar to Flexbox Froggy because it is from the same developers, Codepip. It teaches players CSS Grid, but with carrots instead of frogs. Some familiarity with the language could come in useful but it is not absolutely necessary.


If you like your games higher-stakes and with a bit of combat added in, try Robocode. The objective of this free game is to build a robot battle tank using Java. You’ll then have to battle other robot battle tanks in a programming war.

SQL Murder Mystery

This game is suitable for both SQL novices and more advanced programmers. The latter can just jump straight in and get to work solving the murder mystery, while beginners can avail of tutorials before they start practising.

Swift Playgrounds

A really good pick for beginners thanks to its not-very-intimidating graphics, Swift Playgrounds has various challenges and puzzles for players to test their knowledge of Apple Swift, the programming language behind a lot of Apple apps.


Boost your JavaScript skills with Untrusted, a free web-based game that delves into the adventures of Dr Eval. Sounds intriguing, right?

Vim Adventures

This adventure-maze game is not free but it is still worth a whirl, particularly if you want to improve your Vim skills in a non-traditional way. It’s suitable for Vim newbies.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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