Assignment #2: Addictive Game and Project Idea Mash Up


Due Sun Sep 23 by 9PM

This is an individual assignment.

Select one of the addictive games from this list of addictive games that you find personally addictive: Cut the Rope, Farmville, Tetris, Bejeweled, Fruit Ninja,  Boggle, Words with Friends, Orbital, Bejeweled, Touch Physics, Anodia, Peggle, Little Wings, Plants vs. Zombies, Flight Control, Sodoku, Where's the Pixel, or Drop7. You cannot pick Angry Birds.

In the spirit of the class reading on Angry Birds (by Mauro), perform a "cognitive teardown" of the game. Make a half-page bullet list 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. Being specific about what makes it great is important.


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.


Also look at the list of project category options for the final class projects (in the slides from classes 1 & 2).


Using the game you analyzed as a starting point, propose a design for a new addictive game that would accomplish one of the project category goals. Essentially, mash up the popular addictive game you selected (and the specifics about what makes it addictive) with the project goals, to come up with a new (and addictive) idea for a game with a purpose that could potentially become a class project.


As it is played, this new game must address one of the project topics. 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.

On the second half of the page, describe your game concept as best as you can given the space limitation. In particular, describe why you think this new game will be at least as, and hopefully more addictive and fun, than the game you based it on. It should be obvious how it satisfies the project topic category. You can include hand-drawn sketches of mock screens if that helps you to explain the idea. Do not draw any ideas on a computer. Do not go over 1 page.


(TIP: If you are having trouble with this exercise, 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?)

Finally, once you have an idea for a killer app that incorporates the properties of the addictive game and addresses one of the project idea categories, you need to develop a 1-minute presentation to pitch the idea to the rest of the class as best as you can. Your goal is to convince us that you have come up with the next great addictive game (that would just happen to also address one of the project ideas).


Just to be clear, your project idea itself doesn't have to to be a game. You just need to think hard about how to pull some of the properties that make the game great into the project idea. This is a brainstorming exercise to get you thinking creatively by having you put two things together that may, initially, not seem to go together. Even if you have a project idea that has a very serious purpose, there is something to learn from what makes the best addictive games great. You want your app to be "addictive" regardless of the purpose.


You will present your idea in class on Tuesday Sep 25 as part of our 1-Minute Madness Project Pitch session. You must develop 3 slides using this template.


Email your 1-page written assignment with subject line "Assignment2" as a PDF named [YourFirstName][YourLastName].assignment2.pdf and your slides as PPT named [YourFirstName][YourLastName].1mm.ppt to both Elica and by the assignment deadline.


Note that you are not committing yourself to this particular idea as your final project. Your goal in this exercise is to come up with a good idea. That said, this assignments is designed to help you start brainstorming about project ideas.