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.

Wack Some Math or Sentence Monkey

When we went to Chucky Cheese Monday to look for the game I had in mind for my final project. I had a game in mind, Wack-a-mole. This is the traditional game where the moles pop up and player must wack the moles over the head with the hammer. I didn’t really find that game but I did find something similar. I would say a little more 21st century-ish. It was called, Hammer Fun.

This game is simple enough. The player is given a picture of a specific type of mouse to hit. Then when the game starts the player must hit all those mice during that level. The mice appear on the screen and the player is given a hammer to hit the screen with. If you hit the right mole you gain points. If you hit the wrong mole you get no points. In order to get to the next level you must hit all the mice required. For example, level one has 35 mice you must hit in order to get to the next level. I would use this game as a math lesson.

I also saw another game, Super Monkey Ball. I didn’t play it but I did take some pics.

The player rolls the ball to direct the monkey on  the screen through the board. The player rolls that ball in the direction they want the monkey to turn. left, right or straight. If I had more time I would make this a English game for maybe 1st graders. I would have the child go through each level putting a sentence together.The monkey would pick up words on the board as they go. At the end of each board they would have to create a sentence that made sense. Each level would be harder, either requiring more words or more complex sentences.



Battleship Redux and Remixed


Step 1-Pick a board game to modify
The board game I chose to modify is Battleship because it’s one of my favorite board games to play for as long as I can remember.

Step 2-Think of new ways to play on the board
Bowls containing pieces of paper with coordinates

Step 3-Pick a new goal for the game
The goal of the game is exactly the same as the original – to sink all of the other players’ ships.

Step 4-Create a new core mechanic
Players will get a chance to pick a coordinate from the bowl.  By modifying the mechanics of the game, it becomes a game of random luck rather than skill and strategy.

Step 5-Modified rules of the game
Set up the game as per the original directions.  Once the ships are in place (each player may place the ships where they choose), the players have 2 bowls next to them.  The first bowl contains pieces of paper with “coordinates”.  e.g. H-4, B-3

The first player, instead of calling out coordinates for his missle strike, will do the following…

1. Draw a piece of paper from the first bowl with the coordinates.
2. Read the coordinates out loud.  (e.g. D-6)
3. The other player will place a “hit (red) missile” or “miss (white) missile” on that location.
4. The paper that was drawn will be placed in the other bowl. (to prevent each player from drawing the same coordinates)

This is repeated by each player until all the ships of the opposing player has been hit.

*Having a “hunch” or knowing exactly where the other player places their ships has no advantage.  Peek all you want.


Step 6-Play test your game
By modifying this game, I was able to play it with my five year old daughter and I didn’t have an advantage due to skill or strategy because she won!  She understood that she won due to the coordinates that she drew from the bowl rather than being allowed to win.  The reason I chose to simplify the game is because it gives younger (4-6 year old) players a chance to win when playing against older players.  The original rules of the game were still a little tough for her to comprehend.  The random nature of the new rules makes it a bit more fun to play against someone less skilled or much younger than yourself.

Have Fun!

Bonkers- The Price Is Right


Five Core Design Elements

Rules– The rules are very simple. An item is presented to you and you have to guess the correct pattern of the price. There is a board that contains four numbers- it is not mixed and eight spaces- above and below each number. For example- The numbers are 4857. What you have to do is place the marker  on top or bottom of each number which identifies “lower” or “higher” of that price. You have to place the marker according to what you think what the price might be – you ONLY get 30 seconds!

Core Mechanics– Since you only get 30 seconds, you have to be really fast.

Goal– The goal of this game is to guess the correct pattern of the item.

Space-It is a game-board display so you have to move around and place the marker in its correct pattern.

Components– Board with 4 digits, Four markers and a 30 second clock.

Modification of the game.

The original game is played within 30 seconds in trying to guess the correct pattern price of the item. I am going to modify this game by changing the rule. Instead of 30 seconds of guessing, the contestant will now only get 20 seconds to be able to guess the correct pattern. I believe this modification will make the game a little more intense and that is what we usually look for. Once the game was modified, I had my brother play it. Due to the fact he only had 20 seconds, it involved him to be very fast and it created this intensity. I think the 10 seconds difference helped improved the game to become interesting. 10 seconds does make a big difference. Although, my brother was not able to guess the correct pattern  of the game, I hope the game isn’t as difficult to play when trying with others.