Moving, jumping, and scoring are standard features in almost every game we play. Kids can learn how to add these popular game mechanics to their Scratch games in just a few clicks.

In our elementary school coding classes, kids use Scratch to code their own games that they can play and share with friends. When they are beginners, they’re often asking how to include these simple game mechanics and it’s easier than they think.

Here are five popular game mechanics that take just 60 seconds to add to any game in Scratch.

  1. Move left and right
  2. Add gravity
  3. Jump
  4. Follow the Mouse
  5. Keep Score

Kids Can Quickly Code Games in Scratch

Scratch is a free block coding language and online community that allows kids to create programs and games using drag-and-drop. 

Scratch is an excellent choice for kids who want to build games fast. There’s no setup and the drag-and-drop coding interface is easy enough for any beginner. In Scratch, kids can really focus on understanding coding concepts rather than learning syntax.

We teach these fundamental concepts through engaging projects in our Scratch classes. Elementary school students learn to code games and apps using Scratch first. This helps them build a solid understanding of fundamental coding concepts before they move on to text-based coding.

What are game mechanics? 

Basic game mechanics refers to the fundamental rules, interactions, and systems that govern how a game operates.

These make up the core framework of a game, shaping the player’s experience and defining the rules of engagement within the game world. 

When you start a new game, you learn the basic mechanics first in order to play. 

Game developers use basic game mechanics to create engaging and enjoyable gameplay, providing structure, and a sense of progression for players. A few examples include:

Player Controls: Player controls define how users interact with the game. This includes keyboard and mouse inputs, gamepad controls, touch gestures, or any other input method.

Developers design controls to be intuitive and responsive, allowing players to navigate the game world, perform actions, and interact with objects.

Objectives and Goals: Games typically have specific objectives or goals that players must achieve to progress. These objectives can include completing missions, solving puzzles, defeating enemies, or reaching a specific destination. Well-designed objectives create a sense of purpose and motivation for players.

Scoring and Rewards: Scoring systems track players’ performance and provide a quantifiable measure of success. Rewards, such as points, items, or in-game currency, are often tied to achievements and milestones. Scoring and rewards incentivize players to strive for improvement and mastery.

Physics and Collision Detection: Physics engines simulate realistic movement and interactions within the game world. This includes gravity, friction, and object collisions. Collision detection ensures that objects interact believably, contributing to a more immersive and coherent game experience.

You can see some of these at work in the 25 best Scratch games.

5 Popular Game Mechanics in Scratch

Watch the 60-second Scratch video lessons to add these features to your next game! 

1. Move Left and Right 

Moving left and right is a fundamental part of many games, particularly in 2D platformers and side-scrolling games. This basic movement mechanic may seem simple, but it plays a crucial role in the gameplay experience. It can also influence player control, level design, pacing, and even contribute to the narrative impact of the game. 

In the Rocket Landing game, the rocketship moves left and right.

If we want our rocket to move left and right, we need to change the X value.

Add this to your Scratch code:

Scratch code for right and left

2. Add Gravity

Incorporating gravity into a game world will add realism and can be an added layer of challenge. Games that involve falling or flying heavily depend on gravity. Changing gravity can lead to shifting landscapes, floating platforms, or other dynamic elements that keep the gameplay experience fresh and unpredictable.

In our Rocket Landing game, the rocketship falls from the sky.

If we want our rocket to move from top to bottom, we need to change the Y value.

Add this to your Scratch code:

Scratch code for gravity

3. Jump

Jumping is another fundamental game mechanic that you’ll see in virtually every game. Players can jump to navigate vertically, overcome obstacles, or reaching higher platforms. The ability to jump make a game more dynamic because they can introduce features like moving platforms or changing landscapes that require players to adapt their jumping skills in real-time.

In the Frog Jumper game, the frog jumps over a snake when you click the spacebar.

To move the frog up and then down, we need to change the Y position in Scratch.

Add this to your Scratch code:

Scratch code for jumping

4. Follow the Mouse

The “Follow the Mouse” game mechanic, also known as mouse tracking or mouse-based control is important in certain types of computer games. It is crucial in certain genres like point-and-click adventures or real-time strategy games. Players may move the cursor with the mouse to explore the environment, interact with objects, or solve puzzles.

In the Candy Collector game, the ghost follows the mouse. Anytime the mouse moves our ghost will move.

Add this to your Scratch code:

Scratch code for follow the mouse

5. Keep Score 

Keeping score is a fundamental game mechanic that serves various purposes across different types of games. Whether it’s a simple arcade game or a complex strategy game, the scoring system adds a competitive element to games, motivating players to improve their skills and achieve higher scores. It also provides clear goals for players to achieve and gives immediate feedback on player performance. 

In the Monkey Tickler game, the score goes up when you click on the monkey.

Add this to your Scratch code:

scratch code for scoring

Take your Scratch skills to the next level.

Now that you have your basic game features, take your Scratch skills to the next level! The elementary school core track, for kids ages 8-11, is a structured and fun way to advance your child’s coding skills. Kids will build a foundation in coding and practice skills like logical reasoning, problem-solving, and critical thinking. 

Encourage your child to learn Scratch and empower the next generation of creators. See Scratch classes and enroll.