No Video Game

Questions or comments, please email joetcochran AT gmail dot com

Over the last few years, I've created a number of devices that use microcontrollers to do a variety of relatively useless things. I recently finished off my JoyLite Maze project by putting it in a nice-looking enclosure, and made it battery powered.
I read an article that talked about a video game without video, and it got me thinking about a handheld game that had no visual component to it. I imagined a box that you could twist and turn to accomplish some goal, and the box would have to provide some kind of non-visual feedback to the user.
I had not yet worked with accelerometers, except for integrating with a Wii Nunchuck to control an Etch-A-Sketch ( - so I thought that could be my main form of input. For output, I thought that vibrating motors would be interesting, controlled with PWM so that I could adjust the intensity of the vibration as you got closer to the goal. I had a piezo buzzer sitting in my components drawer waiting for a home for a long time, so I thought I could also put that to use.
The microcontroller I decided to use was a Netduino. It's got the same form factor as an Arduino, but the IDE is much easier to work with. It uses the .NET Micro Framework with Visual Studio, which makes things like threading and stepping through code lightyears ahead of what the Arduino development environment offers.
I ordered my parts from adafruit and got to work with the programming.
The game, roughly
The goal of the game is to get past 6 levels, of increasing difficulty, by twisting and turning the box.
At the start of each level, there are 4 beeps used as a "get ready" prompt. 

As you get closer to the goal in each level, the vibration motors get stronger and stronger, indicating you're going in the right direction. When you get very close to the goal, the speaker plays a little tune and advances you to the next level. In levels 2-6 there's also a "bad guy" who chases you around the field of play, and his proximity is indicated by how rapidly the piezo buzzer beeps.
When the bad guy gets you, a "you died" tone is played by the piezo, and when you reach the goal, a celebratory tune is played. Each level has an increasing field-of-play size, making it harder and harder to locate the goal, in which the baddie hunts you down.
The game consists of 6 levels:
 LevelPlayer Speed Baddie Speed Field of play size     Tune played on winning 
 1 No Baddie 1000x1000Not sure who to attribute this to. Heard it in college once.  
 24 0 1100x1100Celebration (Kool and the Gang)
 34     0.25 1200x1200Bang on the Drum (Todd Rundgren)
 44 0.5 1300x1300Eye Of The Tiger (Survivor)
 54 1 1400x1400Final Countdown (Europe)
 64 2 1500x1500We Are The Champions (Queen)

Here are some pictures of the finished game, inside and out:
Video of first level:


Questions or comments, please email joetcochran AT gmail dot com