Post Game Wrap-up

For the Education Arcade I originally planned to build a game that had a constantly rotating board, which meant it required a motor. The idea of that was so daunting to me that I eventually gave up on it, only to find that ‘s clever son actually managed to motorize her board game! I wound up building Adder-All, an adding game, with software using Microsoft’s Silverlight platform.

I really did want to make a learning game, but settled for a game that required the player have a preexisting knowledge of how to add. I thought if I wasn’t going to teach something, I could at least try to make a game that sharpened a skill they already had.

In Adder-All, the player essentially had to add two numbers (under 100 each). So, it was mostly a game of skill, the only luck factor being that the numbers were random, so it was completely possible to get a lot of simple problems, like 10+0, 1+1, etc. The players definitely showed signs of relief when the simple problems popped up.

Adder-All allowed players to really showcase their addition skills. Unlike the games like Snake Holes where players had to progressively use reason to make sensible determinations, my game relied fully on what they were bringing to the table.

The mechanics of the game were too fast, and often quirky. 60% of the players scored over 1,000 points (about 10-15 correct answers with 10 lives), but that means 40% didn’t. So I knew I had made the pace of the game too fast, too quickly.

It was buggy too, it froze a few times, and didn’t behave the way it did as on the computer I wrote it on (you have to click on the game after entering your name for example). These bugs caused players to lose lives, the game, and even stopped one of the kids from playing at all. At those times I wished I had a physical game that I could mend on the spot, but the best I could do was go out of server for a few minutes to update the Silverlight plugin to the latest version. Unfortunately, that didn’t help.

If I could do it again I would slow things down a bit and add some more features, like powerups to freeze time or get extra lives. Ideally I would have ended the game with a review lesson of the problems the players got wrong, perhaps with tips on how to solve them more quickly.

The Education Arcade experience, and AC 230 itself, were wonderful experiences for me, totally exceeding my expectations. I was expecting that I would learn how effectively present information, in PowerPoint or something. But it turned out that I was learning how to think about much bigger ideas, like building, and using creativity as a means to a goal. Most of all, I was happy to find that it was all fun. Plus, it was great being around people who have dreams of being educators. I tried to feed of their desires to want to share their knowledge, and their openness to learning new things through such unconventional methods as building our own Caine’s Arcade.

In regards to the course description, I don’t think I would change anything about the class. I was intrigued by how Prof. Smith was using the Web 2.0 to join in and participate in like-minded networks. I wish we learned more about how to discover, and be a part of our own niches, on the web. Perhaps that’s best left for a course of its own though.

When I’m ready to find my niche, I’m definitely now keen on blogging and will likely be doing so. And if such a course exists by then, sign me up!


P.S. If anyone starts a blog, be sure to let me know. I would love to follow it.

11 thoughts on “Post Game Wrap-up

  1. This game kicked my ass because I get nervous when I have to calculate the tip for the Chinese food delivery guy. Despite my poor math skills, I really enjoyed this game. What program did you use to create the game? Good stuff..

    The one thing I would modify is that everyone who plays should receive tickets ( I received 0 tickets >:( …. Other than that it was perfect. Good job.

  2. You did a really job in creating this game! I wished the numbers went a lot slower though, math isn’t my strongest subject – it is tough to add in such a short time but i enjoyed playing your game, it was fun and yes I’m with ezmike- I didn’t receive any tickets either =/

    • Sorry about the tickets thing. I have you down for 5 owed. Please send a stamped, self addressed envelope…just kidding.

      By the time I finished dividing all the tickets all of the prizes were already gone and no one really seemed interested in them anymore.

      I made sure payed out to the really big winners though.

  3. oh, and the game’s name Adder-All… lmao !!! It took me a while but I got it, I got it. Good stuff…


  4. I commented on your build an arcade game blog on this game, I think its great for 2nd and 3rd graders because they need to be able to do their math facts, both addition and subtraction quickly!

  5. Your math game was awesome, learning how to add really fast before the time or numbers run out makes the kids think and solve problems quicker. great game:)

  6. This game seems very challenging! I saw others playing your game and they seemed very focused. This will definitely be a fun educational game for kids. Great idea!

    • Haha, yeah one of the adult guests said it was too intense as soon as the first numbers appeared. She might have had a little too much coffee though.

  7. The mechanic of the game which had the problem fall at an ever faster rate was a really great idea, and definitely falls well under the learning objective which asks students to improve their ability to add quickly. It’s not surprising that it would be hard for many players at first, as I believe the point would actually be to play it again and again and improve your score. Speed and memorization games are built to be repeated.

    And thanks so much for bringing your programming skills to the class. It was really cool to see a software game. And you should look for a couple of Communications Technology classes that use blogging and building for the Fall 2013 semester. If you’re interested CT 101 Digital Storytelling asks students to blog about digital media projects they create throughout the semester in the context of the ds106 community which we briefly touched on in our class. Also we’re going to offer CT 137 Hacking & Building for the first time in our new Makerspace next fall as well. That class is going have students blogging and interacting with the maker community which should be very cool.

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