I have played, watched, supported and followed many programming types of games in the past. I think they are largely a wonderful idea for getting people of all ages interested in not only learning but actually seeing and experiencing what you can create with that you learned. Screeps, however, has absolutely captivated me and I feel it's worth of praise for that fact.
Previously programming games to me could be classified as either simplified additions to an existing game that was fun but not overly difficult, or applicable to the real world. Or, the radical opposite in which they were specifically designed to teach a particular subset of a programming language or general philosophy of programming. Though perhaps not nearly as fun in what could be referred to as a pseudo gaming environment.
While both have their merit in that one can spark someone to want to investigate what programming is, and the other can further teach that person the basics of what it means to create an application. Screeps has decided to take a different approach. Rather than creating a mini game with the express purpose of emulating a language, or a game with the express purpose of teaching a language. Screeps has created a Game as a Service (GaaS) platform that runs 24/7.
I also feel Screeps provides a unique environment to the gaming while programming world. This is because the platform can often resemble real world situations where you have limited resources to perform a task. Where concepts that when executed met with failure, or success. Forcing the choice between re-coding, or scrapping ideas. A veritable safe space where a failure is an exciting option teaching the same lessons a less safe work environment might also teach from failure due to loss of income.
You can expect to see me, and my Screeper bot in the public screeps world soon! Complete with a 24/7/365 live stream of activity of my room(s) subject to my ISP's downtime of course :). You can find my public repository of code here.
If this sounds interesting to you. You can buy Screeps here.