GAME DESIGN SERIES:
BRINGING THE GAME TO LIFE
Taking Game Design from paper and bringing it to life can be a challenging and unpredictable experience. By using the Game Example of Soccer Dodgeball, we’ll explore the thrill of the experience for the learners, engaging with the game and each other, and exploring varying strategic and technical solutions.
Game-based practice allows for a greater representative learning opportunity than an unopposed, rehearsal of patterned moves that gives limited opportunities for exploring the game principles.
Where routine drills and rotating to the next cone makes for a nice looking, controlled environment, does it match the complexity of the game they need to experience? How better to learn the game than by playing the game?
So in a game such as Soccer Dodgeball, how does that represent football learning? It represents it by using the same principles that are across most games in its simplest form:
Get the ball > Score/Hit Target > Get the ball back > Stop them from Scoring/Hitting Target
The difference between the games, then becomes the the constraints placed on the games. The constraints in Soccer Dodgeball shape and highlight behaviour and learning opportunities that are across both games:
- Controlling and striking the ball
- Scoring (Accuracy of hitting a stationary target)
- Passing (Accuracy of hitting a moving target)
- Awareness/perceptual demands
- Individual and Team strategy
Some affordances missing (which you could add to the game) may be:
- Invasion of space and opponents
- Running with the Ball
- What else?
We’ve taken the sport of Dodgeball, manipulated some of the rules, and turned it into a Multi-Sport learning experience.
Within the one game, there can be many variations according to rule changes and changes of task that can challenge strategy and encourage tactical creativity.
We show three variations of Soccer Dodgeball:
ELIMINATIONS – the task is to get all the opposition out. (it’s important with elimination games for the player to still be involved once out or have the opportunity to come back into play)
MODIFIED – as the game emerges, changes may be needed to suit. In the Dodgeball Eliminations, when both teams were down to 1 or 2 players it presented the chance to make the area smaller.
GOALS – playing with goals promotes the elements of scoring (shooting) and protecting the goals (Goalkeepers) to increase representative learning.
Another variation is to add the INVASION strategy – you can ‘invade’ the other teams half by running with ball and trying to score. But once you invade, you must score or you’re out. Defending is then also added to stop them scoring and you’ve included the ‘missing’ affordances.
What do you look at when you watch a game?
Are you looking at the skill or the strategy behind the skill?
Rather then looking at the technique and skills of the players, try observing the intent behind the skill. When we focus on strategy, then we can appreciate even more, the varying technical solutions that emerge.