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Minecraft's Coding Tutorial Is Made for Kids, But I'm 27 and I Loved It

Minecraft teamed up with Code.org to design a fun educational tool and hopefully inspire the next generation of coders.

The Hour of Code is an annual campaign designed to get kids across the globe interested in coding, and this year, Microsoft and Minecraft developer Mojang (which Microsoft acquired in 2014) have joined the initiative by designing a fun Minecraft tutorial that helps teach children the fundamentals of coding. It says it's for ages "6 and up," but I confess: I'm 27, and I had a lot of fun with it.

The tutorial, which is already up and running, is broken down into 14 increasingly complicated "puzzles." You drag and drop blocks representing commands into your workspace, and press "Run" to see your Minecraft character navigate its world—chopping down trees and shearing sheep. After you complete a puzzle, you can view the code you wrote by seeing the blocks translated into Javascript.

Image: Code.org

Full disclosure: I have never played Minecraft, nor have I ever written in Javascript, so the novelty it had for a newbie like myself probably played a part in my enjoyment. But it was still bizarrely satisfying to solve these puzzles, even if they were designed for a child. And by showing kids how basic typed commands can translate into on-screen actions, I'd wager that the appeal will be pretty universal.

The Hour of Code campaign doesn't officially kick off until Computer Science Education week, which begins December 7, but the tool is already up and ready for use by kids and educators. Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi believes Minecraft's simple, universal appeal will reach a broad range of children, saying "Minecraft is a special game that girls and boys alike often can't be pried away from. This year's Minecraft tutorial will empower millions of learners around the world...and will inspire them to impact the world by creating their own technology or apps."

If we really want a more diverse workforce in the tech sphere, we need to reach a broader range of students at a young age, so coding becomes just another way for them to build, play, and create. So initiatives like the Hour of Code are worth paying attention to and supporting—plus, I had a lot of fun shearing sheep.