Design your own computer game about multiplication
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Mudball wall

You can create:

  • A game idea about multiplication - if it's intrinsic and interesting, it may get programmed!
  • A collection of multiplicative situations for your game

How?
Whatever you do, please do not have drill exercises like 2*2=? appear in your game. Even if you write your exercise on the tummy of a monster, or offer players to shoot balloons with right answers, it's still a drill exercise. There are plenty of games with those, none of them very imaginative or interesting, in my opinion.

The real challenge is to create a game where multiplication is, somehow, a part of the story. Whether your story is about making chimeras out of spare parts (combinations=multiplication) or about sharing pirate booty in a certain proportion among the crew, the multiplication activities have to be intrinsic to the scenario.

A good method is to find some real-life or fiction situations that involve multiplication, and then build game mechanics on them. Game mechanics include guessing, collecting, capturing or eliminating, tiles and covering, and many more. Wikipedia has a decent article on the subject, if you need some inspiration. Also, try to find some multiplication in the computer games you already like. The picture above, for example, comes from Zoombinis - you can play their demo if you don't know the game yet.

Why?
Because this activity is great for lovers of computer games. It is empowering and creative, as most activities that use design as the main component.

As you go

  • Think of what makes good games.
  • Reflect on intrinsic vs. extrinsic elements of games and life.
  • Find multiplicative situations everywhere.

Higher and deeper

  • "Serious games" use game mechanics to help people accomplish work tasks. Game mechanics research is heavy in psychology.
  • Some researchers claim "learning game" is a contradiction in terms. There are certainly precious few good ones, among the sea of drill software somehow being called "games." As you design your multiplication game, try to have artistic or working in-game goals, rather than learning goals. Learning, like happiness, should probably not be pursued directly - at least in games.
  • If you end up designing a multiplication game, though, your understanding of multiplication will become much deeper than before. This is a general feature of design tasks.
Created: December 6, 2008, 8:23 am, by MariaD
Last edit: December 6, 2008, 8:23 am, by MariaD ( Edit, History )
Co-author: MariaD