Thursday, December 25, 2008

Game 1: Holiday Chicken Invaders

Game: Holiday Chicken Invaders
Platform: MSN Games
Cost: Free

Oh yeah! Space Invaders + Chickens in Santa Suits = potential, entertaining time waster.

This game comes in online and download versions. Oh yeah, and it's free. As long as you sit through an ad for smoking cessation meds.

Is the game fun? Why? As fun as Space Invaders was. Move around, shoot things with the mouse, avoid the stuff that drops from the chickens. This game was also super-intuitive. Move the mouse around, use the left mouse button to shoot. Practically no instruction needed - though the instructions on the introductory page helped.

Do I want to play this repeatedly? No. The novelty wore off after a couple of games and 4 levels. I wasn't feeling particularly driven to figure out what was going on at the next level. Plus, if you move your mouse too low, you wind up clicking the ad link. That opened up a new window and interrupted your game play. As a result, you get hit by a chicken. I DON'T SMOKE - I DON'T NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHANTIX!!!!! I SAW YOUR $@#*$&#* AD THE FIRST TIME!!!!!

What did I learn playing it? Controller and interface design is key. A small aggravation (like the ability to click an ad and interrupt gameplay) makes a huge difference in the perception of "fun" and whether I would want to go back and play.

What element(s) can I use when designing a game at work? I will need to keep a close eye on usability. As intuitive as I can make the controls, the more likely the student is going to focus on the content of the game.

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