23 Sep 2013

Ouverture Facile: A Riddle Game

Last week, a number of students were playing Ouverture Facile, an online riddle game. It’s an interesting game and reminds me of something similar that was online at about the same time (2005) but has since been taken down. I helped a little bit with some of the mathematical puzzles and got to know the programmer.

Both games share the aim that the puzzles build one upon the other and that they ultimately guide the player to some new knowledge, be it some code or mathematics, or using a new piece of software or the structure of the internet.

The Game Rules for Ouverture state that:”You are highly encouraged not to divulge the answers (or the URL of the levels) if you don't want to spoil the pleasure of others. However, you can help your friends by giving them some hints but be careful, do not tell them more than they need to know to fully enjoy the game. The purpose of this game is to search for answers.” It should really have said "search for solutions" rather than "search for answers".

Yes, I am fully aware that every online game has sites dedicated to walkthroughs, solutions and spoilers, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them! And yes, I am also aware that we all want to be adored by our peers for being so very clever, but once your friends realise that you’ve just used somebody else’s answers, how smart will you seem then?

This isn’t meant to be a rant (although it may sound like one!) but rather an opportunity to think about something. How would you design a game in such a way that even with spoilers the player still has to think about the solution?

One to ponder in class…