Coding, or leaning to code, is literally a language. Without the right motivation, it’s likely that one will be keen to pick up the ability for humans to ‘speak’ with computers.
And, thus, what does Glico Japan have to do with the language of the modern times? While from the offset it might look like an attempt to ride on a trending bandwagon, the Japanese food company has genuinely created a concept that is novel and rewarding for all who take part. Plus, it’s tasty as well!
With the GLICODE initiative available in Japan since 2016, it has taken the concept some time to arrive in Singapore and internationally. The premise is simple – kids arrange Pocky sticks into specific sequences, snap a picture, and the GLICODE app translates the sequence into actual digital commands. It’s more complicated explained out loud but in pictures, it will be as easy as pie.
Packed in the box we received was a playmat for us to place our Pocky sticks on. In lieu of this specific playmat, any white surface would do perfectly fine.
The tricky thing is actually getting Pocky sticks. While one could always buy a new box for each coding attempt, it would make kids become portly in no time with each level cleared. Parents might be better off creating proxies like the one above to prevent that from happening.
Getting started is simple. Download the app and kids are off. No registration needed and you’re all set to dive right in.
Getting into ‘coding’ is straightforward. Depending on how a Pocky stick is arranged, the app and camera will interpret the sequence and command the character, Hug Hug, in-game to carry out a specific action. Not quite the same as typing out a long string of characters and hitting ‘compile’ but the logic needed is sort of the same.
Based on what’s we’ve seen, the in-app camera picks up the position of a Pocky stick and translates them into commands in real time with a specific sequence.
There’s little hand holding apart from visual guides and if you do get an action wrong, the app will play through the sequence anyway to great success or failure.
Similar to online coding courses, the learning experience can be brutal for younger users and a parent’s guiding hand is definitely needed as there is a lack of instruction in terms of explaining what might have gone wrong and for correction. Much of the experience is trial and error but it does make clearing a stage all the sweeter upon success.
The reward? Being able to snack on the Pocky stick you just laid out of course!
As the game progresses, the game becomes increasingly complex and you’d find yourself needed a bigger playmat and more Pocky sticks. The more sticks used, the more Pocky boxes sold. What a brilliant and devious plan!
But it’s all for good fun and a great time to spend a weekend with the kids. At the end of the day, the stages presented should give kids a good idea of the basic principles of coding. Parent will probably get a good idea if this is something that they might want to persue in the future. The upside of it all would be the great amount of patience one would gather going through this activity.
Hit the GIF below to see it in action –
If this all sounds all too daunting for parents to even get into, Glico is holding workshops to help parents out in Singapore. With sessions conducted every weekend, it makes perfect sense to sign up for the event in lieu of aimlessly walking about a mall over the weekend. Registration is highly encouraged, so do visit www.glicode.sg for more information.
Gerald currently straddles between his love of video games and board gaming. There’s nothing that interests him more than trying out the newest and fanciest gadget in town as well. He dreams of publishing a board game sometime in the future!