Learning game for programming wins international award at CHI 2013


The new Danish game Machineers, which playfully introduces programming concepts to children, wins its second award at a student games competition.

Can a game teach children crucial skills for their future? Even a skill that is hard to teach to adults, like programming?CHI_Winf6e663

To address this challenge, a team of three game design students from the IT University of Copenhagen, Henrike Lode, Giuseppe Franchi and Niels Frederiksen, developed an educational game as part of their Master thesis. The team has recently turned into the Copenhagen-based company Lohika to further develop their game and bring it to market. Machineers is a puzzle adventure that educates beyond classic drill-and-practice: by turning the learning content into a playful experience.

Many learning games try to cover up the low entertainment value of traditional teaching practice by rewarding the player with stars or cookies, but most children are not that easily tricked,” says Henrike Lode, CEO at Lohika. “Our approach transforms the learning content into engaging game mechanics. The kids want to play this educational title just as much as any of its competitors.

Machineers can be played by children as young as 8 years old. Solving the mechanical puzzles in the game while repairing and building machines educate children about logical thinking, problem-solving and digital literacy. Meanwhile, they are immersed into the beautiful story-driven universe of Machineers and don’t even notice that they are learning.

You play as Zola, a young girl who wants to become a Machineer. She has to get along with her grumpy boss and help out the quirky characters in an amusement park town. The players feel responsible and want to help their virtual friends.” says Henrike Lode. “We call our approach Ninja Learning”.

·       Solve mechanical puzzles by repairing and building machines
·       Create vehicles from your imagination
·       Train logical thinking, problem-solving skills and digital literacy without noticing
·       Educational game with high-quality graphics, soundscape, and story

The ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Science is the premier international conference on human-computer interaction. At this year’s student game competition, Machineers was selected as one of 9 finalists out of 35 submissions and prevailed against competitors from the Syracuse University, USA and National Taiwan University in the ‘Games for Purpose’ category.

The team behind Machineers was able to take home their first award in December 2012 at the Serious Game Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C) in Orlando, Florida, where they won the Best Student Game Award. SGS&C is part of I/ITSEC, the world’s largest Modeling, Simulation, and Training Conference.

Find more information and screenshots on the website.

Machineers is currently under development and will be released on the App Store for iPad and iPad mini in the fall of 2013. A free demo for Windows and Mac is available now in English, Danish, German, Spanish and Italian on the website. Contact us to get the preview version (in English) with all 7 puzzles.

Lohika, the company developing Machineers, is a young international enterprise, based in Copenhagen, with a strong background in programming and game design. The team has the vision to change the way the world learns by bringing digital literacy to your children.


Screenshot of the owl puzzle


Screenshot of the amusement park



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