I have been talking about this game for quite a while both online and off line. It was the first game that I bought for my iPad some six month ago. It is a traditional ‘Physics’ type game with a really user friendly interface. The aim of the game is to get the marble or other object to hit the red button using the simple laws of gravity. Here is an example (level 5):
As you can see, the red button is located at a height. When the marble is released, it falls from the port hole (top left) and drops down to the ground level where it pops off the ramp. Though it gains a little bit of height it is no where near the height of the red button. Therefore, the player must use some objects. The objects available in each level vary and can be seen at the top left of the screen. In this case, there are three long blocks. The player must arrange these blocks so that when the marble falls, it hits the objects which in turn hit the red button. Have a look at the next screen shot below:
Here you can see the blocks arranged. When the marble drops hopefully it will hit the blocks and as they collapse, they in turn will hit the red button. See next screen shot:
As you can see, the marble has hit the blocks and causing them to tumble and hit the red button meaning:
Each level varies in the number of objects, number of marbles and number of obstacles that must be passed in trying to hit the red button. It requires thought, skill and precision. I found this game particularly addictive but wasn’t sure why. This brings me back to thinking about last weeks reading. As Malone (1980) mentions edit in his paper-
What Makes Things Fun to Learn? Heuristics for Designing Instructional Computer Games
- “In order for a computer game to be challenging it must provide a goal whose attainment is uncertain
- In a sense, the very notion of “game” implies that there is an “object of the game”
- Uncertain outcome- A game is usually boring if the player is either certain to win or certain to loose.
Four ways to make the game uncertain:
1. Variable difficulty level
2. Multiple level goals (score keeping and speeded responses)
3. Hidden information
Thomas Malone (1980)
– All of which are prominent features of Gravity HD.
When I was teaching, my subject was Biology and Science. If I think about the Science curriculum (specifically Physics) I think that Gravity HD could be used to illustrate/enhance learning in a number of ways. If we look at Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: Science Experiences and Outcomes, we can see how a digital game such as Gravity HD may be used:
- “Through everyday experiences and play with a variety of toys and other objects I can recognise simple types of forces and describe their desired effect.
- By investigating forces on toys and other objects I can predict the effect on shape or motion of those objects”
As part of the Digital Games Based Learning course we have been asked to write a review of a game. I am considering using Gravity HD. I was thinking about producing a small video clip of the game rather than use endless screen shots. Though I am still in the very early stages of my planning, I would welcome any thoughts from any teachers out there.