Hello folks! I decided to share this little story of what happened to me thanks to this site.
I joined this site three years ago, played for a day or two, and promptly forgot about it. I’ve been trying on and off to learn computer science for a long time. I have a college-level Intro to Computer Science online course that I’ve been slowly working through over the last year. I’d lost my motivation to work on computer science at all for the last couple of months. Then a couple days ago I saw folks talk about Hour of Code, and that suddenly reminded me of this old site I’d joined, and I decided to log back in and try it again. I’ve been playing for much of yesterday and today–I’m really having tons of fun with it again. I didn’t do much, just replayed a bunch of the Kithgard Dungeon levels I had already beaten three years ago to reacquaint myself and then moved on to a few new levels in Backwoods Forest. Simple stuff, mostly concepts that I already understood and just needed reminding. And I was having so much fun with it!
And then here’s the thing that really surprised me. After a while of this today, I thought, why not try logging in again to that college course? I picked up where I had left off, in the middle of a problem set. There was this recursion problem that had repeatedly stumped me before. But today, I threw myself into it, and after a few tests and mistakes, it finally made sense! Mind you, nothing I’ve done yet on Code Combat had a thing to do with recursion, and yet suddenly I was understanding recursion in a new way. I did a couple more problems, and it happened again–I was noticing the patterns in the errors I used to make over and over, and I’m finally understanding the reasons behind them!
I’m sorry this is such a long post, and it’s pretty silly maybe, but I just wanted to share because it’s so baffling and amazing to me. Playing around with code on here, in a way that’s silly and relaxed and engaging, seems to have actually taught me new things about how to approach problems. Or maybe it just took away some of my anxiety I felt toward coding! I also really appreciate the quote on one of the level-loading splash screens, “First solve the problem, then write the code.” I’d heard that before, but this time I really kept it in mind while working, and I think that was a big help too.
This site is obviously amazing for kids, but I hope there’s a few adults out there like myself who can benefit from it too. Even just as a way to ease back into coding when formal courses are too intimidating.