Learning Data Structures through Text Adventure Games

Document Type

Poster Session

Publication Title

Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Pedagogical research has already established that couching lessons within the use or design of computer games can be an effective method of instruction. Text adventure games are a particularly excellent vehicle for exploring many Data Structures topics. In these games, the interface is console-based and involves a simple input-response cycle that is easy for novice programmers to master. The game's player uses typed commands to move around a series of locales, each of which is described upon entering. There are physical objects in each location that can be inspected, picked up and carried, dropped, and sometimes used in some way. Meeting the requirements of a global objective causes the game to end. Beyond this, student creativity can add layers of plot complexity and puzzles, humor, and originality without requiring advanced programming expertise.