Run Mario! Collaborative coding in Scratch

PictureOne of the most exciting aspects about innovation is the way ideas feed off each other. I love to see the output of human brains add together to something greater than any of the individual brains could have done.

In the Mesa Code Club, we see it all the time. I think it’s great that tools like Scratch and Khan Academy have built in a “remix” button that allows other users to open up your code and tweak it. Of course if you have ever forked a repo on github, you recognize this phenomenon.

One we had a lot of fun with recently involves the beloved NES character Super Mario, running from a giant bullet. The original project is a funny animation, but when the kids in the club figured out they could turn it into a simple game, hilarity ensued.

When Warren looked at the code, he was interested by the logic that made King Bill’s eye always follow Mario on the screen. He decided to take it a step further by adding a dangerous laser that extended from King Bill’s eye. (See how much fun coding is?!) But instead of having the eye and the laser follow Mario, he changed the code to have it follow the mouse.

All the sudden Warren had complete control over Mario’s destiny, and this was simply too much fun. While Warren may have been able to code up this entire game by himself, he was able to get from zero to hilarious faster by building on the work of another user. As he put his personal touch on it, Warren learned about the logic of mouse interactions and solidified his if/else skills (Mario dies when the laser hits him).

Here’s the game if you want to play:

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