Wednesday, July 30, 2008

OT: Wiki Gaming

I'm always on a lookout for computer games that David might find interesting in the future. I'm looking for something non-violent that stimulates creativity and perhaps teaches you a few things about the world around you. So invariably most of the games in the selection are physics based.
I recently came across this gem of a game called Fantastic Contraption. The game simulates a simple 2D world with a few gadgets you can use to create a contraption. The goal of the game is to push, drag, drive or hurl an object from your work area to the goal area. Sounds simple right? Well, it depends on the level you play! And the level I had most fun on was this one:

Your task is to get the ball through the area of falling boulders to the goal. My first successful contraption was a caterpillar that dug through the boulders and used around 30 pieces to get the job done. But soon when enough people completed the first 20 levels new challenges were invented. Something the creator of the game never thought about. One of the challenges was to see what the lowest number of pieces is needed to complete a level. Surprisingly the answer is usually between 0 and 3 pieces!
So I got back to work and thought about using the using the boulders and a seesaw to hurl the ball to the goal. Sure enough I made a green solution (not using any of the powered widgets – another user game-play invention!) the level using 8 pieces and proudly posted it to the forums. Took them less then two hours to tweak my design to 3 pieces.

I'm always amazed by the power of collectives. Browsing through the contraptions has got to move you. So many ideas and approaches to solving the same problems, so many brilliant solutions. I'm definitely bookmarking this one.

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