Java, Swift, BASIC, the C Language, Python… The list goes on and on. Some have been present for 70 years, others are remarkably new. Now if you don’t have any idea about what I’m talking about, these are programming languages. Also, how big is the rock above your head?

A programming language is a vocabulary and set of grammatical rules for instructing a computer or computing device to perform specific tasks. Many countries have coding as a core subject in their national curriculum. However, in Singapore many of us still seem to not know much about this groundbreaking field. Well fret not! VJC alumni Aditya Batura (08S55), Tat Leong (07S56) and Yong Cheng (07S36) have the perfect solution.

They have been running an educational startup called Codomo – aiming to provide holistic educational experiences. And they have recently launched a game named Potato Pirates worldwide on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, where they have surpassed over $150 000! Impressive, especially considering that their goal was $15000 (achieved in 10 hours as a matter of fact). Click here to view their Kickstarter page.

Potato Pirates is an exhilarating card game of logic and strategy – a lethal combination of potatoes, programming, and piracy perfect for the classrooms, family days, or even game night with friends. It teaches anyone age 6 & up, 10 hours worth of programming concepts in 30 minutes, all without a computer!

Potato Pirates Press Kit

How does it work? In this game, you play as a potato pirate and start with 2 ships along with 10 potato crew each. To win the game, you have to save Potato King by collecting all 7 Potato King cards hidden randomly in the deck. Either that or you could just eliminate everyone else in the game. To attack other pirates, you equip your ships with action cards such as “Roast”, “Mash” or “Fry”. Combine them with control cards such as “For” and “While” loops to power up your attacks.(Seems weird? These actually imbue coding concepts.) Once you are ready, send your ships for battle. Beware of surprise cards such as “Hijack” and “Deny” that might foil your crafty plans.

Potato Pirates Kickstarter

Through the game, you will learn about fundamental computer programming concepts such as functions, for loops, while loops, if-else conditionals, nested loops, boolean statements and many more. It may seem like jargon to many of us right now. But trust me, you will certainly understand once you get your hands on the potato pirates!

It may just seem like a simple party game at first glance that just so happens to teach the player something useful. However, it is far from that. Aditya shares, “With Potato Pirates we’re not just building a game, we’re trying to create a universal first step for anyone (regardless of age of language) into the world of coding. The first step is always the most challenging and we’re trying to make it easier by removing computers and introducing social interaction.” And indeed, the lack of a computer certainly simplifies things. It even helps to get people living in areas without computers interested in coding. Overall, their game was a success. 9 in 10 players showed an improvement in their understanding of fundamental programming concepts.

Their publicity video succinctly summarises their vision and what Potato Pirates is already doing. It is always amazing to see VJC alumni connect and create beyond VJC. They are solving real problems, building real prototypes and executing ideas in real life (not unlike PW 😉 ). Potato Pirates’ Kickstarter campaign is closing in three days. Go ahead and drop a donation! Let’s back our fellow Victorians as they work on bringing education to everyone.

PS: Mashable and Vulcan have also done features on this cool game. Check them out too!

Article by:
Niyanta Chowdhury, 17S46

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