8.2 Finding Games in Mechanics

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Core mechanics are tied to sprite behavior in Gamestar Mechanic. How do the different sprite behaviors suggest particular core mechanics? The Escape

Cloud Parkour

Crazy Shooter

What's on for today:

The focus is on using core mechanics as the starting point for the design of a game. Working in pairs or small teams, the students will design Gamestar Mechanic games based on an assigned core mechanic.

What you need:

-Multiple copies of the “One-line challenge template” per student
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-One-line challenge template
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour

Design - 30 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 20 minutes
Discuss - 10 minutes

30 minutes

1. Using the template included here, have students work in teams to invent a set of one-line challenges for the class that contain a specific core mechanic. Sample challenges include:


Make a game in which the core mechanic is collecting.

     Make a game in which the core mechanic is levitating.

     Make a game in which the core mechanic is relaxing.

     Make a game in which the core mechanic is sneaking.
     Make a game in which the core mechanic is avoiding.

2. Collect all the challenges and place into a hat for students to randomize. Have students take turns drawing challenges from the hat.

3. Using their challenge mechanic as a constraint, have students work alone or in pairs to design a multi-level game that best exemplifies all possible variations of the assigned mechanic.

4. Encourage students to use the text screens— game label, level intro and outro screens—to express the core mechanic as well. Students might come up with a story related to their mechanic
or invent a world space or set of characters related to the qualities of the core mechanic.

Playtest and Iterate
20 minutes

1. Encourage students to playtest and iterate early in the process.

2. Playtesters should be encouraged to give feedback based on the following criteria:

    Has the designer selected an avatar appropriate to the challenge mechanic?

    Is the design of the space appropriate for the core mechanic?

    Have items and system sprites been included to support the core action of the game?

10 minutes

Initiate a discussion based on the following questions:

    What were some different ways that people designed game spaces to support a particular core     mechanic? Or created core mechanics to support a particular story or space?

    What was the thinking behind your choice?

How did it go?

Were students able to design games around a particular core mechanic?

Did their solutions take advantage of the mechanic or suggest new ways of playing?


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Jan 4, 2011, 8:16 AM