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This new video game offers a fun, engaging way to learn mainframe fundamentals. Help Mainframe Mike collect hardware and software components and use them to…


You may have noticed an emerging trend around incorporating gamification into learning content for developers. With that in mind, the IBM Z team has created a cool new way to bring together multiple generations of coders.

Mainframe Mike screenshot

In an effort to increase awareness and highlight key concepts around mainframe components and software, we developed Mainframe Mike: The Game! This arcade-style game looks similar to those that were popular in 1980s and ’90s with a fun atmosphere and engaging gameplay.

The background story: The main boss in the game (a robot named Sara) is trying to conquer the world, while Mike (the hero) is out to save the world. Veteran players get nostalgic over the retro graphics, while younger players who may be less familiar with such games are often eager to try it and learn something new.

As Mainframe Mike, you need to successfully complete two levels. At first, Mike collects hardware components (like processors, memory, fiber connection, crypto, and OSA cards). Then, he collects key software like transaction managers, databases, and connectivity tools. During the game, Mike’s loyal friend Watson provides instructions and helps you understand the purpose of the various hardware or software components you collect along the way. For added fun and excitement, you’ll find old devices (PCs, lawnmowers, etc.) that have been hacked by the enemy and include hidden secrets that you can uncover — another way to earn more points!

Watch this video to better understand the story behind the game.

We believe this format will encourage younger developers to learn more about mainframes, and they can continue their learning journey by participating in IBM’s “Master the Mainframe” contest and exploring other IBM Z learning options.

So dive in and help Mike out — the world needs a hero!

Andrii Vasylchenko