Design Assignment Week2:
Addictive Game Mashup
Due Tue May 17, beginning of class
This is an individual assignment.
Select one of the addictive games from the wiki list of simple, addictive games that you find personally addictive. Find a specific version of the game, ideally on the phone but it could also be an Internet game. Spend at least 45 minutes playing the game.
Make a half-page bullet list with a "cognitive teardown" concisely indicating what makes the game addictive. Primarily focus on interaction. Do not simply say the game has "nice graphics" or "engaging music." For instance, if you think that the graphics are important, be more specific about what makes them distinctive versus other less addictive games.
Think as deeply as you can about the game and how it balances challenge and reward ... many do this at multiple levels simultaneously. Some topics, among others, that you might consider are learnability, user mental models of the game world, challenges at multiple simultaneous scales, clever aspects of scoring, use of speed and pacing, importance of storyline (or not), implementation of positive reinforcement, etc.
Now consider the unique capabilities of mobile devices that we have talked about in class and how mobile phones are typically used.
Using the game you analyzed as a starting point, propose a design for a new addictive game. As it is played, this new game must either help someone with a health-related task (weight loss, eating less calories, getting more physical activity, getting more fit, spending less time sedentary, etc.) or help researchers learn about health-related behaviors (measuring eating behavior, measuring physical (in)activity, generating a high-quality database on healthy foods, etc.). The proposed game must also take advantage of a unique capability of the phone to enhance the game play. Features you can consider using are knowledge of location (and whatever additional information you might gather from the Internet based on that) or one of the phone's other sensors: accelerometer, light sensor, compass, camera, or microphone. Your proposed game may need to use the phone's data network connection to connect different users or acquire important data.
Describe your game concept as concisely as you can. In particular, describe why you think this new game will be at least as, and hopefully more addictive, than the game you based it on, and why it will help a typical person or a health researcher with a health-related tasks. You can include hand-drawn sketches of screens if that helps you to explain the idea. Do not draw any ideas on a computer.
(TIP: If you are having trouble, you might get ideas flowing by taking two of the addictive games and forcing yourself to think of how you could combine them, without losing too much simplicity. A good example of this is the game Dropwords on the Android Market. If you can do that, now do the same thing again, but instead mash up the game with some of the phone's advanced functionality. What can you do that is new and different that might make the game more fun? Can you manipulate the information used in the game for an educational/health purpose so players learn something as they play?)
Email your assignment to ...@neu.edu named [YourLastName].d2.pdf and bring a hardcopy to class.