iOS: LowRes Coder is a fun app that lets you craft your low-resolution, pixelated games that resemble arcade favorites of yore. It uses the classic BASIC programming language to bring your games to life.
You will need to know the fundamentals of BASIC to actually make anything, but it’s one of the earliest and simplest programming languages to learn. Moreover, LowRes Coder includes pretty extensive explanations about how to get started. You can type your code directly into the app (though perhaps you might find it easier to write your code elsewhere and then paste it into the app), and then it essentially functions like a BASIC emulator.
But one of the best things about LowRes Coder is its community. It comes with a variety of games and examples pre-installed, but you can also draw upon all the games that people have already created and shared. I’m actually reminded of how we used to use our graphing calculators in high school more for gaming than for calculus—trading games and showing off all the new programs we got running on our TI calculators. LowRes Coder has that same sense of discovery, even if BASIC is a fifty year old programming language.
The app is free, but there’s a size limit to the programs you make. The unlimited version costs $4.99.