Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hakitzu - JavaScript coding on an ipad!

I am going to start this post with an admission. I'm not really a gamer and my coding skills are poor. Yes I can keep up with KS2 children; I have learned how to use basic HTML code for blogging, can use Hackasaurus and Thimble and love gaming Kodu and Scratch, but that's about my limit.

We have children at Roydon who love minecraft. We use it as an incentive and as a reward for good behaviour with certain children. When I first heard about Kuato Hakitzu, via twitter of course and Kuato's chief education architect David Miller, I thought it would present great challenges for our digital leaders, but also for a talented child in my class who has behaviour that challenges (some people) and an obsession with gaming derived from being allowed to access 18+ games at the age of about 3. Incidently, this child also enjoys playing 'Teach your monster to read'. Very twee in comparison. He also loves A.L.E.X on the ipads - a game similar in nature to beebot, which I have blogged about elsewhere. I hope that Hakitzu will help channel some of his talents with a more appropriate platform, whilst helping him develop coding skills. 

So as with everything, I have had a play before introducing it at school. Unfortunately most of my digital leaders are girls and I'm not sure how much it will appeal to them, but hopefully they will learn to use it so that they can teach others. I think it is great and I know how children can be influenced by a teacher's enthusiasm!

So, my first experience with this game. I started by kitting out 2 of my robots. At this point I realised that I was more worried about the colour and aesthetic qualities rather than anything else. It's a female thing. I've always been Tom-boyish, but maybe not when it comes to shiny things. They have to look good! So my robots probably aren't the best designs for battle. I'm sure that children will spend more time experimenting than I have. After kitting out your robots, you then choose where you want to battle. There are three arenas: Hardplace rock, Rumble rig and Destropolis.

Once there, you are given tips on how to code, then off you go! You cannot make an error as it highlights it in red if you do. You only have 120 action points to start, so you have to be wise about your moves. I wasn't, then realised I had totally overspent when it came to executing the moves. I had to reduce one of the codes that had taken me ages to write! (A youngster would have probably done it in seconds!) You can also only do 9 'moves' in one go, so you might not be able to reach your desired goal in one execution. This makes it feel a bit like a game of chess. I am trying to imagine what my opponent will do, so that I can defend whilst attacking. Great for promoting strategic thinking in our children!

Even more embarrassingly than not paying attention to my credits, I managed to 'move' one of my robots to exactly the same position! He is now a sentry in the wrong place (see picture!) Gah! I have always been rubbish with my left and right, but I thought I had been careful with this. Clearly not!

My robot did some nifty footwork, but stayed in the same place!
I am blogging quickly whilst awaiting my opponent's move. I fear I will not live long...we shall see. I am loving this already, even though I am sure that I will never be an expert at it. It has huge potential for our proposed computing curriculum and to bring a bit of that awe, wonder and excitement to education. A great companion (next step) for my other favourite- Kodu and perfect because it allows our children to develop coding skills on the ipads. It is always great when we can show  I would love to know your thoughts too!

Three arenas for your battles

For further reading, take a look at the press release or maybe you would prefer to browse their youtube channel. David has also pointed me in the direction of a facebook page which may interest you.


  1. The link to the site is:

  2. Thanks, James. And the download is here :)

  3. Hi Sheli, thank you so much for this great review of our first game. Your enthusiasm is completely infectious! We would love to visit Roydon and see the kids playing Hakitzu, and perhaps capture some of their (and your) reflections on film. Let us know if this would be possible, and we'll be there :)

    1. That would be great! Will see if I can get some of my digital leaders looking at it over the holidays :-)


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