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The Mary Sue

Sarah Esper

Learn Java By Casting Spells, Saving Gnomes in a First-Person Video Game

What skills does your favorite video game give you? When you're done burning through the 12+ hours of BioShock Infinite, what'll you have to show for it? Probably a few enhanced motor skills and the aesthetic appreciation that comes with being immersed in a compelling story. That's certainly not nothing. For developing employable, useful skills, though, one game's got all the rest beat. Computer scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have created a video game that teaches students how to program in Java by casting spells and saving the world. A world of creepy, creepy little gnomes.

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