Problem-Solving Play

Part 2 of a 6 part series reviewing examples of the 6 activity modes.

A review of Problem-Solving play:

Problem-Solving play is commonly encouraged via inclusion of puzzles, both in educational games and in commercial titles such as Myst. Here, there are specific rules for the activity sequence and the solution to the challenges. Even if there are a number of challenges within a given game, they are generally well defined, and undertaken independently. The problems may be hierarchical, requiring one problem to be solved before moving on to another, or the problems may be parallel and unrelated. Problem-solving may be fast-paced and reliant upon hand-eye coordination, or it can take a slower form where logic prevails.

Factory Balls 2 I lurve this game. Using a variety of tools, the player transforms white balls into 30 colorful variations with stencils and paints. Players must perform the transformational steps in a particular order in order to create the proper effect, but are not pressured by any time limits.

Little Wheel Here you look for a series of step by step puzzles hidden within the scenery. Like Factory Balls there is a particular sequence of steps to follow, but the ingredients and elements are hidden. I never can fathom these games.

Meta Games: This is the Only Level, Obey the Game and Take Something Literary play with the notions of game play and require players to solve puzzles that are fluid and require the knowledge of gameplay conventions. Novelties or deep exploration of game play? You decide.

Balance games: Tons and Tons of these. Red Remover, Super Stacker 2, Splitter 2, and  Perfect Balance 2 are just a few of the different ones where the player attempts to balance or unbalance objects in a worlds with consistent physics. These may have time constraints or not.

Light-bot:Use programming commands to cause a robot to follow different sequences of action. Like the Logo for this decade.

Matching games: Bejeweled and Bubble Shooter are two of the most famous, but most feature matching 3 more objects with like characteristics often with a time component.

There are tons more games with problem-solving activities. Game rules are typically fairly simple and straight forward. Problem-solving is easily combined with Active, Strategic and Explorative activities.


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