How to Code Games in JavaScript – Best Tutorials This Year

JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages for game development, thanks to its versatility and compatibility with a wide range of platforms. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, learning how to create games with JavaScript can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. In this article, we will explore the best tutorials for coding games in JavaScript, including Zenva’s Phaser Mini-Degree, a beginner-friendly resource for learning how to build cross-platform games with Phaser.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a widely-used programming language, primarily known for its use in web development to add interactivity and dynamic content to websites. Initially developed in 1995, JavaScript is now an essential part of frontend development and has grown to have a variety of applications beyond web browsers, thanks to platforms like Node.js. JavaScript is versatile, flexible, and relatively easy to learn, making it a popular choice for programmers of all experience levels.

CTA Small Image

What Makes JavaScript a Popular Language?

There are several reasons behind JavaScript’s widespread popularity:

  • Compatibility: It is compatible with almost all existing web browsers, making it a universal choice for web development.
  • Ease of use: JavaScript is designed with a simplistic syntax, making it beginner-friendly and easier to learn for those new to programming.
  • Event-driven nature: JavaScript enables developers to create highly interactive applications by responding to user actions, like clicking or scrolling, instigating changes to webpage content in real-time.
  • Large community and ecosystem: Thanks to its longevity and widespread adoption, JavaScript has a massive community of developers and an extensive library of frameworks, plugins, and tools available to support its use.
  • Full-stack capability: With frameworks like Node.js, JavaScript can be used both on the frontend and backend of applications, simplifying development and reducing the need to learn multiple programming languages.

Why Use JavaScript for Games?

JavaScript is an excellent choice for game development because it enables developers to create games that can be played directly in modern web browsers without any additional plugins or software installation. Some benefits of using JavaScript for game development include:

  • Accessibility: JavaScript games can be played on virtually any device with a web browser, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, and more, giving games a larger potential audience.
  • Lower development costs: Due to its compatibility with most web browsers, developers can create a single version of their game in JavaScript that works on nearly all platforms instead of having to develop separate versions for each operating system.
  • Easy implementation and distribution: JavaScript games can be easily embedded into websites or other web applications, giving developers a variety of options to distribute and promote their games online.
  • Community support: A large JavaScript development community offers extensive support through forums, libraries, and shared code, making it easier to overcome development challenges and find inspiration for new game ideas.

Other Uses for JavaScript

Aside from game development, JavaScript has numerous applications, including:

  • Web development: Adding interactivity, animations, and dynamic content to web pages, as well as building single page applications (SPAs).
  • Backend development: Using frameworks like Node.js, developers can create server-side applications, APIs, and databases for web applications.
  • Machine learning: With libraries like TensorFlow.js, JavaScript can be used for machine learning tasks in the browser and on the server side.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): JavaScript can work with microcontrollers to control IoT devices and create custom IoT-based applications.
  • Desktop applications: Tools like Electron allow developers to create cross-platform desktop applications using web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Popular JavaScript Frameworks for Game Development

Several JavaScript frameworks and libraries have been created to simplify game development and increase developer productivity. Some popular options include:

  • Phaser: An open-source framework for creating 2D games that can run on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Three.js: A library that utilizes WebGL to create 3D graphics in web browsers, making it suitable for 3D games and interactive animations.
  • Babylon.js: A powerful 3D engine making it easy to create, optimize, and render 3D scenes in the browser.
  • PlayCanvas: A visual WebGL game engine that enables developers to create high-quality 3D games with real-time collaboration features.
  • Godot (with JavaScript support): A powerful game engine that supports JavaScript, among other languages, for creating both 2D and 3D games.

In this article, you will find a list of the best JavaScript game development tutorials and resources, including offerings from Zenva and other sources. These resources will guide you through the process of learning JavaScript game development and help you build your own interactive games.

Zenva Academy’s Phaser Mini-Degree

Zenva Academy offers the Phaser Mini-Degree, the most comprehensive collection of courses to build cross-platform games with Phaser. Phaser is a free and open-source JavaScript framework that allows users to build responsive 2D games that can easily be integrated with other web technologies. The courses are designed for both beginners and advanced developers and cover topics such as player input, sprites and tilemaps, physics, animations, and game logic. The curriculum includes four levels covering Phaser basics, interactivity, key skills, and popular mechanics.

The courses are project-based and flexible, allowing learners to access them 24/7 and choose the learning materials that suit them best. The courses are suitable for complete beginners with no prior coding experience and are designed to teach highly transferable skills that can be used to change careers, land dream jobs, get promoted, or start a business.

Phaser 3 Tutorial by GameDev Academy

This tutorial aims to teach beginners the basics of Phaser 3.x by creating a game similar to “Frogger”. The tutorial covers the following topics: learning goals, tutorial requirements, development environment, setting up a local web server, scene life-cycle, bringing in sprites, coordinates, creating a player, detecting input, moving the player, treasure hunt, a group of dragons, bouncing enemies, colliding with enemies, camera shake effect, and fading out. The tutorial requires basic to intermediate JavaScript skills, a code editor, a web browser, and a local web server.

2D Breakout Game with Pure JavaScript by Mozilla Developer Network

This article is a step-by-step tutorial for creating a simple 2D breakout game using pure JavaScript and rendered on HTML canvas. The tutorial covers fundamental game mechanics like rendering and moving images, collision detection, control mechanisms, and winning and losing states. The lessons are available on GitHub and include creating the canvas and drawing on it, moving the ball, bouncing off the walls, paddle and keyboard controls, building the brick field, collision detection, tracking the score and win, mouse controls, and finishing up.

Starting with pure JavaScript is recommended to gain a solid knowledge of web game development, but frameworks can also be used to speed up development time.

The article also includes a note about a counterpart series for 2D web game development using a game library, and the tutorial can be used as material for hands-on game development workshops.

Learn JavaScript Game Development – Full Course by freeCodeCamp

A JavaScript course has been published on the YouTube channel. The course is designed to teach how to make 2D games with HTML, CSS, and plain vanilla JavaScript, using no frameworks and no libraries. The course is made up of 9 separate projects, which include sprite animation, parallax backgrounds, enemy movement patterns, collision detection, point and shoot games, state management, and final endless runner games.

The course is taught by Frank Dvorak, who specializes in creative coding with vanilla JavaScript and HTML canvas. The course is suitable for anyone who wants to learn to make 2D animated games. The games created with JavaScript can run on almost any device with a web browser.

Creating Games with HTML’s <canvas> Element by W3Schools

The article provides a tutorial on how to create games using HTML’s <canvas> element. The <canvas> element is ideal for making games in HTML, as it offers all the necessary functionality for creating games. JavaScript can be used to draw, write, insert images, and more onto the <canvas> element.

The article provides an example of how to create a gaming area using the start() method of the myGameArea object. The start() method creates a <canvas> element and inserts it as the first child node of the <body> element. The article also provides references and exercises for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, SQL, and other programming languages. Additionally, the website offers courses and certifications for various programming languages and topics.


Learning how to code games in JavaScript is an exciting and rewarding journey, whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced developer. With the tutorials and resources mentioned above, you’ll be well on your way to creating engaging, cross-platform games. Don’t forget to check out Zenva’s Phaser Mini-Degree for a comprehensive, beginner-friendly resource to kickstart your game development journey. Happy coding!

Did you come across any errors in this tutorial? Please let us know by completing this form and we’ll look into it!

Python Blog Image

FINAL DAYS: Unlock coding courses in Unity, Godot, Unreal, Python and more.