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Local High School Students Apply Computer Programming Techniques in Battlesnake Competition

12 area high school students recently participated in McHenry County College’s (MCC) first Battlesnake Competition, an event that teaches students various applications of computer programming and algorithms. The online competition was hosted in classrooms at Crystal Lake Central and Prairie Ridge High Schools at the end of March.

Student Aiden Keck of Crystal Lake Central took first place, while Ryan Atkinson and Paige Keller of Prairie Ridge tied for second.

The competition allows for single- and multi-player tournaments scored by a system of simple rules. The objective of the game is to program a “snake” controller that avoids walls and finds energy items to keep moving. Students with more experience in programming could build algorithms that supported chasing—and avoiding—other snakes in the arena. The game is ultimately about survival of your snake.

 MCC worked with high school teachers in the area to find students interested in programming. The students who participated in the Battlesnake competitions were members of programming clubs at their high schools.

“The Battlesnake arenas are excellent platforms for learning algorithms at all levels,” said Jack Brezenski, who leads the Robotics program at MCC. “In the competition, students chose from several mainstream programming languages. The amount of work and degree of sophistication varied with each game. This environment allowed students to collaborate globally and score their programs against other competitors.”

For more information about MCC’s programming courses, visit