It seems like that's not the point. The goal of having students write games isn't to turn them into game programmers, but to show them that programming can be fun, and then they can use their new skills to solve all sorts of problems.
I agree. For a couple of years, I have used The Battle for Wesnoth as a practical example of open-source development. Its markup language falls somewhere between HTML and real programming and thus has been working very well for students with non-technical background who typically run very far when programming is mentioned. The students form teams and create a mini-campaign, using version management, wikis and other typical tools (I've used Trac for that).
Also, it is similar in web development in the sense that it promotes/needs three separate skillsets - visual (the result should be aesthetically pleasing), technical (the result should work and follow standards) and verbal/creative (the result should tell something and do it in a correct manner). Thus, it can be used to teach various skills, stressing one or the other as needed.