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2:48pm on Tuesday, 20th January, 2015:

Rather Different


Every year, I give my second-year students six old-time games to play, in order that I can ask examination questions about them. The games are Pong, Frogger, Zork, Rogue, Asteroids and Tetris. This year, the web-based version of Rogue I gave them stopped working between when I tested the URL and when they tried it, so they only had 5 games to play. Fortunately, Rogue isn't featured in the exam questions this time round (I've just checked).

Also every year, I ask the students what games they liked the most. Each cohort of students has a different take on the games, but in 2011, 2012 and 2013 they've always had the same three games in the top 3 and the same 3 games in the bottom 3. Here's a list of the games and what position they came in the popularity charts for these three years:

Tetris 2 1 2
Frogger 3 2 1
Asteroids1 3 3
Rogue 4 5 4
Pong 5 4 5
Zork 6 6 6

This year the order of popularity (excluding Rogue as they couldn't play it) was:


Tetris was 1 vote ahead of Zork, both of which were some way ahead of Asteroids. So whereas the previous cohorts of second-year students have loathed Zork, this year's really liked it.

Also, in the game design exerise I gave them, three of the five games they came up with using the random materials I gave them were good enough to play for fun. Two of them need further polish, but the other is playable as it stands.

I have high hopes for these students! I just wish my lectures for them were a little less boring than they are at the moment...

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Copyright © 2015 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).