Back in high school I took computer science as an additional, after-hours subject. I was utterly hopeless at it and my dad basically had to do my homework for an entire year. Coding is hard, man. Only now it’s sort of not because Mojang, Microsoft, and Code.org have put together an hour-long interactive tutorial that teaches the basics. Also, it teaches it to you using a version of Minecraft. So basically it has my attention… for an entire HOUR. That is exceedingly rare for me because I have the attention span of a two-year-old hyped on espressos and Red Bull.

The tutorial is designed for students and teachers, and I guess anyone else who has an interest in this stuff. It uses Blockly, which allows you to drag-and-drop blocks that then plonk bits of code into areas. The code that’s working in the background is Javascript, which you can switch to whenever you want to SEE HOW TOTALLY CLEVER YOU ARE. The challenge is to write code that will guide Minecraft characters Steve or Alex through a series of top-down puzzles.

The whole thing has been put together for the annual Computer Science Education Week, which runs from 7-13 December. In an official statement, CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, had this to say:

“A core part of our mission to empower every person on the planet is equipping youth with computational thinking and problem-solving skills to succeed in an increasingly digital world. With Minecraft and Code.org, we aim to spark creativity in the next generation of innovators in a way that is natural, collaborative and fun.”

You can get stuck in right over here. It’s aimed at ages six and up, putting it just out of my coding-age appropriate rating (I can’t get past a three-year-old’s coding basics), but for everyone else on Earth, it should be heaps of fun. The 14 levels you need to code your way through is accompanied by the soothing tones of C418’s Minecraft soundtrack. Have I mentioned how much I adore that soundtrack? Because I adore that soundtrack.

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