Hopscotch & Beyond, cont’d

by Bernie DeKoven on May 3, 2011

You doubtlessly recall Beyond Hopscotch –  my post of plentiful praise wherein I rapturously report of the pedagogical profundity and basic brilliance of the hopscotch-interpreted video games produced by Celia Pearce’s class in Game Design as Cultural Practice.

Today, I am especially pleased to be able to share three of these games with you, which, thanks to Rhys Saraceni, we bear witness to in living YouTuberly fidelity.

Before I let the students and their games speak for themselves, I would like to point out the ingenuity, the engagement, and the, shall we say, immersive playfulness manifest in each of these games. Watch these videos, and you will see deep learning, genuine exercise of game design process and aesthetics, remarkably creative inter-media translations between video games and, can you believe it, hopscotch; and incontrovertible evidence that these people were having fun.

Ice Climbers Chalk Game

You have to love the creativity – not only of the game, but of the way in which it is played. There’s a real problem that has to be figured out, a strategy that has to be developed – what’s the best way – or any way – for us to get from place to place to place. Partner hopscotch – a concept that I’d like to see in every street and playground, wherever hopscotch is played. What a gift!

Gran Turismo Chalk Game

First you draw the track (the hopscotch pattern), in the second, you race back to the start, and then have to hop the pattern you created, the first player to do so correctly wins. There are rules that govern how you draw the track. So here we have at least two radical departures from hopscotch – the race, and the incorporation of drawing the hopscotch pattern (according to fixed rules) into the game itself. Sweet.

Spore Chalk Game

A simultaneous hopscotch game which turns out to be a race for body parts, which you then use in the fighting ring – capturing the essence of Spore and adding at least two more new dimensions for hopscotch.

In each game, students had to first reduce the video game to it’s basic play elements – elements which can be represented with a chalk drawing. In doing this, the students had to reach deep into the essence of each game, beyond the graphic effects and computer-determined leveling of challenge. What a powerful way for them not only to understand the dynamics of video games, but also to be able to model their own new designs.

Hopscotch will never be the same. And, my guess is, neither will these remarkably talented students.


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