Aardman and Nominet Trust launch competition to help young people get into coding

Phil Savage at

If Hearthstone has done anything, it's proven that you can make a compelling game about sheep. Now, a new collaboration between Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman and the UK's Nominet Trust is hoping to give the world more sheep-shaped digital adventure; hopefully without the corresponding white-hot hatred of jerk mages. Shaun’s Game Academy is their new initiative, and it's designed to help kids get into coding.

Part of it is a competition, in which entrants can use the characters, places and props from Aardman's Shaun the Sheep. More importantly, the Academy's website contains a series of modules, designed to teach young coders how to use M.I.T.'s Scratch platform.

Technically, the site's accompanying trailer is pitched below my age bracket. At the same time, it's backed by Jumper from the Castle Crashers soundtrack, and it turns out that's enough to keep me engrossed throughout.

"Children are eager to make their own projects online, but many don’t have the opportunity to do so," said Nominet CEO Annika Small in a press release. "Combining digital making with young people’s everyday interests is a great way to create digital activities that are relevant and fun. This is why we are really excited by this partnership with Aardman Animations and the launch of Shaun’s Games Academy."

If you know (or are) a young person interested in game design, it could be worth taking a look. The deadline for competition entries is September, 2014, and prizes include a tour of the Aardman studios.