Using Game Design Mechanics as Metaphors to Enhance Learning of Introductory Programming Concepts

Jemmali, C., Kleinman, E., Bunian, S., Almeda, M. V., Rowe, E., & El-Nasr, M. S. (2019, August). Using game design mechanics as metaphors to enhance learning of introductory programming concepts. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (p. 65). ACM.


Computer Science Education, Learning, Game Design, Metaphors


There are several educational games and tools that teach programming. However, very few offer a deep understanding of Computer Science concepts such as Abstraction, Modularity, Semantics, and Debugging. We present May’s Journey, an educational game that supports learning of basic programming concepts, where players solve puzzles and interact with the environment by typing in a custom programming language. The game design seamlessly integrates learning goals, core mechanics, and narrative elements. We discuss how we integrate the CS concepts mentioned above using game mechanic metaphors.