Game Design and Hopscotch

After a very relaxing break, and a very rewarding trip touring companies on the west coast, the semester has started and I am back in action!

My project group is awesome, I can tell, but I’m also taking Jesse’s Game Design class, which terrifies me. Usually, when I take a class or do something, I feel like I have some knack for it going in, but Game Design is something I have NO idea if I’ll be any good at or not. It’s a scary thing! The last time I took a step into something I had no idea about was when I took my first computer programming class at Centre…

…and then, of course, I ended up reveling in the challenge, majoring in it, and supposedly being rather good at it. So, who knows!

Anyway, our first assignment is to redesign hopscotch. No easy feat, let me tell you! We have to go through and document a particular process with this, and Jesse is all about establishing the problems that your design will attempt to solve. So, after playing a round of hopscotch with a classmate on a crudely made court of masking tape, here are some problems with hopscotch I’ve come up with:

1) It’s too easy
2) waiting to take turns is boring
3) if you fall behind early on, your only hope is that the other people will also screw up, otherwise you’re screwed
4) even if you all play a perfect game, whoever goes first will win
5) turns are self-contained, there’s no real interaction between players, they don’t affect each other
6) the more people play, the bigger the downtime-to-playtime gets, and the more boredom is able to flourish
7) punishments (losing turn if falling or stepping on lines) but not much in the way of rewards (you get to keep going, woo?)

I think I am most interested in solving problems 2 and 5, because I think they could be solved together. On to the brainstorming!

Any thoughts are welcome.

4 thoughts on “Game Design and Hopscotch”

  1. Ah, hopscotch. Remember playing next to the infamous “the wall,” where naughty students were made to sit, teetering high off the asphalt? Punishment for vertigo was typically a cracked skull. I think our hopscotch field was actually composed partially of yellow parking stripes… or was four-square?

    You describe the problems of almost all school-yard games. Hopscotch, four-square, kickball, jump rope… they all are tests of patience, not necessarily skill. The paradox exists that, in theory, progress can only be attained by practice, but the only way to effectively practice is alone. So, wouldn’t the best hopscotchers effectively be reclusive students who practice alone, and then emerge from the shadows every year to unleash violent revenge in the form of hopscotch revenge? That’s why us cool kids played D&D.

    Come at this from a different angle, though. The beauty of hopscotch is that there can be multiple, simultaneous games being played. The only limiting factors are the number of players, and the amount of chalk or tape to define the field. Could hopscotch be redesigned to include multiple, interconnected fields through which players advanced single-file? Kind of like a congo line, but if you screw up, you have to relinquish your place in line. There would also be instances where multiple players might occupy the same square. I’m not sure what would happen then… maybe a death bout of dodge ball?

    Just some thoughts. Have fun.

    1. Ah, interesting ideas! I know that multiple-players-at-once hopscotch definitely showed up in my brainstorming sessions, and I playtested another student’s version that was somewhere between hopscotch and twister.

      My current design is “Musical Hopscotch,” where 2 or 3 players play hopscotch on their own courts, and get points for every circuit they complete (all whiles’t music plays). At random points, the music stops (like in musical stairs) and the players must freeze. They get bonus points depending on what square they’re on at that time.

      I’m working on my third iteration of the game, and am at a number-tweaking point.

      Also, who is this?? Clearly it’s someone from Holy Family!

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