Sumware Over the Rainbow

Today in my graduate computer games class I asked students to design a game (which they will then need to implement) which has the following two constraints:

Constraint 1: Playing the game should be an artistic act. The player can be composing music, creating a drawing, making a sculpture or writing a poem — there are many possibilities. But the game must give the player some way to explore their own artistic muse.

Constraint 2: The game should be educational. It could be a way of learning math, or geography, or physics, or history. The educational goal could be anything generally considered useful or worthwhile.

The idea is that providing two constraints pushes the designer to think outside the box, rather than fall back on a variant of a game they already know (which students often do without even realizing they are doing so).

I created a little sketch of a game for them as an example of the general idea. I made sure not to add any fancy art direction — I want them focusing on game play.

You play the game by creating your own original melodies (constraint 1), and as you play, you learn arithmetic sums (constraint 2).

Also, I couldn’t resist the title. :-) Click on the image below to try it.

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