Reflecting on Our Education Arcade

Education Arcade – Real Prizes

My Academic Computing 230 class just wrapped up its Education Arcade full of great games, great people and even greater prizes! While most of the games revolved around the subject of Mathematics, my game was a different kind.  It was so much fun! Check out a player taking a shot at my game Make A Meal.

My classmate was such a great sport! Tons of fun.

I would say my game was a combination of both skill and luck. You could see in the video the Professor made a joke saying that my game required serious athletic ability which isn’t necessarily true, but it sure was a funny line. If it happened to be that the player of the game had great aim and was athletic, it might be easier for him or her to get the ring around the bottles. That’s where I can see the element of skill fitting in. On the other had, if a contestant decided to come and play my game and they didn’t have much hand-eye coordination amongst other things, then the concept of making a meal would be a lot harder to accomplish. This is why I say that the game involves some luck as well because with this kind of contestant, they’d have to just toss it and hope and pray it landed around the body of a bottle with the correct label. Therefore, whether my game is of luck or pure skill depends on the player.

Everyone who came around to play my game seemed very excited about the action component it involved. It was also very exciting because the players panicked a little every time the amount of tosses they had went down as they still hadn’t completed their meal. One thing I heard a lot was that my game was pretty hard. I don’t know if that was said jokingly, but  I hope so. After hearing that once or twice, I started modifying my game. I gave each player more tosses so instead of 6, maybe I gave them 8 and I gave the children about 10. Another thing I did was move the line closer and at certain times, I rearranged my bottles by spreading them out so the ring had a greater chance of not being obstructed by a bottle nearby.

Even though I thought my game was more steered towards showcasing knowledge, I think it also allowed players to construct knowledge about which foods belonged in certain food groups. As an example, I’ll use something I observed during the Arcade. I asked a player to make a meal using fruits, but no vegetables and she tossed the ring around the bottle labeled “carrot”. With her making that mistake, I got to explain to her that the carrot is a part of the vegetable food group as she thought it was a fruit. So with players placing wrong foods in the food groups, it allowed them to learn the lesson by playing. After that, some of the same players who made mistakes came back around to play Build A Meal again to get it right. Now that’s learning.

Other than some minor things, I would keep my game the way it was. I would change the labels I made. Because I wrote them with the only marker I could find at the time, silver, it was hard for some of the players to search out the meats and other products in the game. The bright light reflecting off of the metallic marker made it worse for them as well. Something else I would change is the ring. I would have loved to purchase an actual ring, multiple as well so that I didn’t have to go fetch the ring after every toss. This would also help keep track of how many tosses the player already took. I was keeping count with my fingers while trying to remember which parts of the meal were made already. I think my particular game was pretty fast paced so maybe I would like to give each player more chances at making meals, more than 6 tosses to slow it down.

The silly moves (tosses) with my game made it very playful and full of laughs and I think that is one very important part of an arcade, having fun. In our case – being able to be a kid!

Because I feel this post is getting too long – check out Part II of this post as I’ll comment on some of my classmates’ games and reflect on the class (: