Microsoft has offered many products in recent years to help people get started with programming on the Windows platform. For instance, Small Basic makes it easy for beginners (including young kids) to write simple programs for Windows without having to learn any complex concepts while free development tools like Visual Studio Express are aimed at advanced programmers.

Last summer, Microsoft Research released a community game cum programming environment for the Xbox 360 called Kodu. Unlike most other video games,   Kodu would let players create their own video games for the Xbox without any prior knowledge of programming.

Design Games on your Windows PC

The initial version of Kodu required the Xbox 360 console but now Kodu is available as a free download for your Windows PC as well. This means you no longer need an Xbox to design games with Kodu and you can play them on just about any computer using a keyboard and mouse (or an Xbox game controller, if you have one).

Also see: Run Classic DOS Games in Windows

The entire Kodu program is more like a video game than a programming environment. It includes several tutorials to help you quickly figure out how to create new games, or you can look at the sample games bundled with the program for new ideas.

You can easily edit any game by pressing escape, make the changes and then jump back into playing the game with your changes. Although you cannot edit every little thing inside the game, it still gives you a nice launch pad for creating simple games.

You can download Kodu for PC from fuse.microsoft.com/kodu. Additionally, the graphics settings can be turned down to allow it to run on a computer with lower resources. Kodu requires .NET 3.5 and the XNA framework 3.1 to run – if you don’t have them, the Kodu installer will automatically download and install them for you.

Video Tutorial: How to Create your Own Video Game

Scratch from the MIT Media Labs is another popular tool that you may use to create interactive games and animated stories on your Mac OS X and Windows machine.