Help Gidget save the animals and clean up a chemical spill!

Oh no! Gidget’s logic chip was damaged on the way to clean up a chemical spill and save the local animals. Gidget remembers the goals for each of the missions, but needs your help to modify the faulty code to pass the levels. Each level becomes progressively more difficult the closer Gidget gets to the chemical factory, and you will have to combine all the concepts you learn along the way to figure out how to solve all the goals.

Gidget is a game specifically designed to help novices learn computer programming concepts through debugging puzzles. Gidget keeps novices engaged by providing an interesting storyline, personified feedback, and tools to help players help themselves through difficult concepts. Prior to its public release, over 800 online participants played through various versions of the game, and over 60 teenagers played through the game and created their own levels during four summer camps in 2013 and 2014.

The game takes a very dif­fer­ent approach than exist­ing learn­ing tech­nolo­gies for pro­gram­ming. Rather than try­ing to moti­vate kids through cre­ativ­ity (as in Scratch and Alice), pro­vide instruc­tion through tuto­ri­als (like Kahn Acad­emy and Codecad­emy), or inject pro­gram­ming into tra­di­tional game mechan­ics (as in Code­Com­bat or Light­Bot), Gid­get attempts to trans­late pro­gram­ming itself into a game by pro­vid­ing a sequence of puz­zles for learn­ers to solve. The game aims to teach play­ers that com­put­ers are not omni­scient, flaw­less, and intel­li­gent machines, but rather fast, reli­able, and mostly igno­rant machines that can solve problems. The game’s goal is not nec­es­sarily for play­ers to learn to code (though this does hap­pen), but to teach play­ers that pro­gram­mers can inject soft­ware with their own magic.

Gidget is the dissertation work of Michael J. Lee, a PhD candidate in the Information School at the University of Washington. This project is generously funded through the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, and Google, and is a collaborative project between the University of Washington and Oregon State University. 

Everyone can now help Gidget debug faulty code to solve puzzles at  

Contact: Michael J. Lee,