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C-Jump, the Computer Programming Board Game

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Computer programming education starts younger and younger – but it’s still too early, and comes with too steep of a learning curve, for many students.

While educational children’s entertainment and games teach many valuable skills, few can traverse the abstract/mechanical divide that must be crossed in order to understand computer programming.  C-Jump encourages kids (and adults interested in coding) to complete physically evident examples of common C, C++ and Java operations like loops, switches and conditional statements, and it does so in a fun, exciting way.

C-Jump uses skiing and snowboarding to exemplify statement completion: start at the top of the mountain, and then install sequential and orderly operations to get to the bottom in the fewest steps possible. The game includes fundamentals of basic math like addition, subtraction and multiplication so kids can actually play along. The operations are based on real code, and so this isn’t a watered-down interpretation, but a real introduction into the fascinating world of programming.

While the rules, and concepts, are undeniably complex, this is a much gentler introduction to programming than even basic tutorial software.  Nevertheless, this game is recommended for ages eleven and up, as the concepts are probably too involved for younger gamers. With two to four players, this is techie family-game-night heaven. (Complete rules available online, http://c-jump.com/pagerules02.html#aswitch)

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