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June 17, 2012 / carlispina

Learn to Think Like a Programmer While Playing a Game with Cargo-Bot

One of the most important parts of learning to write computer programs is figuring out how to think like a computer programmer. Cargo-Bot is a fun new iPad game that teaches players to think like a computer programmer without writing code. Its goal is to help children learn the critical and programmatic thinking skills that are required to learn any computer programming language. Since this goal is hidden within a fun puzzle-style game, Cargo-Bot seems as though it has a good chance of entertaining players enough that they will keep coming back and will pick up this new style of thinking without feeling as though they have been studying.

In Cargo-Bot, players “teach” a robot how to move boxes so that they will match the provided picture. To do so, players must specify a series of moves using the available pieces or loops of longer sequences of these pieces. Players earn points both for solving each puzzles and also for finding the most efficient solution to the puzzle, which provides an incentive for players to keep thinking about the problem until they have come up with an optimal solution, much the same as is true in computer programming. The game play is fun with cute graphics and a really easy-to-understand interface. To help new players get started, Cargo-Bot offers a wide range of tutorials that offer instruction in how the pieces work and how to create loops. Players can also choose from a range of difficulty levels from easy to impossible, with several games available at each of these levels, which makes this game perfect for a wide range of players and also means that it will take quite a while to finish. Each level offers a hint for players who get stuck and players can also opt to record their game play to share it online with other players.

I found the game fun and I think that players will definitely return time and time again to find the best solution for each of the problems. This game seems like an excellent option for introducing beginners, especially children, to the type of thinking that is required for computer programming. While it isn’t going to leave players able to sit down and start programming, it will help them to develop the habits that will make it easier for them if they do decide to learn to program. And, even for those with no interest in computer programming, Cargo-Bot is a fun and entertaining puzzle game. Watch the video below to see it in action:



Leave a Comment
  1. Andromeda / Sep 10 2012 11:47 am

    Oooh, I like that it’s programmed in Codea — that’s a nifty little app.


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