Making retro arcade games

I always encourage my students to make games when learning to program. They have to think about the aim of the game, the characters, the controls, the visual effects, and so on. Once they know all the basics, they can create their own and experiment.

Our group of Year 7 & 8 students have learned how to make Arcade games with Microsoft Make Code Arcade. This is a step up from Scratch programming.

Using Make Code, the students create their own characters pixel by pixel – and then program it to control the game. Although the students use block programming, they can view their code in JavaScript or Python which helps them to understand how the code works under the hood.

We had a full term packed full of activities that led to a final ‘space shooter’ game where the students put everything they learned into practice. They created some fantastic games featuring some great characters.

We have two new coding clubs for Years 7 – 9 starting in November 2020:
Make Mobile Apps
Introduction to Python

How the pandemic has accelerated online learning

Back in early March I was still travelling to schools across North Somerset to deliver after school coding clubs. This is something I have been doing for several years; everything changed almost overnight.


It is right that it has been a national priority for all children and young people to return to full-time education, but unfortunately many schools are unable to safely accommodate additional learning opportunities at the end of the school day. In response, we pivoted very quickly to deliver our coding clubs virtually – and accelerated a change we had in mind to make at some stage anyway. 


Technology has never played such an important role in our lives and we all are having to adapt to new hybrid ways of working and learning. The school day now looks very different to previous years – with staggered start and finish times. Moving our coding clubs online has only highlighted the importance of digital literacy and teaching children and young people critical thinking, problem solving and digital citizenship. These vital skills and learning to code are now as important as reading and writing.  


Coding is for everyone – not just for boys who love playing games on their mobile devices or consoles. Of course this doesn’t mean that everyone is going to become a computer scientist. It’s more about nurturing the skills they need to understand and navigate the digital world today and tomorrow. We help children to become digital makers – rather than simply consumers of technology.

Our coding clubs are now open for registration to primary school children from Year 3 – 6 and secondary school students in Years 7 – 9. We also provide one-to-one sessions- contact us for more details.