At the start of the 2020 school year, I got assigned to design class for my first quarter. In design class, we had a BIG project: Desgin a cardboard arcade game. My partner, Jen Shin, and I decided to make a pinball arcade game.
In a pinball game, you basically shoot a ball (marble) up and control two flippers to keep the ball in the playing interface. Meanwhile, you try to hit the obstacles in the interface.
We had around 8 design classes to make our project. Afterwards, a 4VC, a fourth grade class, came to the design lab to play our games. They had an awesome time playing all of our games, and I was really glad that they all enjoyed Jen and I’s games, and came back for many more turns.
My biggest success was making the flippers to hit the marble, and them not getting destroyed by the 4th graders. The flippers required a lot of attention and time, and I almost wrecked the whole thing but managed to save it. The flipper’s ‘control board’ also caused several problems with the whole machine. However, Jen and I managed to solve everything in the nick of time.
I did not have a BIG obstacle, but I had some small obstacles, some mentioned above. It was also a challenge to work as a team together under such a time crunch, and since I am not too good at cutting cardboard, or designing in the first place. Also, Jen and I’s cuts were also really wobbly at first, and I thought the arcade looked pretty bad. However, Mr. Gaby ( design TA) , helped us by telling us a secret to cut perfectly straight lines. When you are not cutting along the way of the cardboard, you can cut tiny slits along the line you are cutting, then string them together, and you basically get a straight line! (Future designers, this is also really useful to cut curves)
Overall, I think the product was successful because it did not break halfway, or have any major errors. The grade 4s really enjoyed it, and some of them were really good at it,once we explained how to play the game. However, some of them were a bit bummed by the fact by you can’t exactly “win” pinball, you just have to keep the marble up! Maybe we would’ve attracted more people if we had a more well-known game, or a competitive game. Some of the groups actually recorded high scores of each student so that we could have a mini competition. We also put in a lot of last minute adjustments, like the paper cutouts of: Let’s Play! , and the big signboard. The playing interface was actually not a straight slope, and was two separate pieces balancing on a cutout slope, so we had some problems with it. Sometimes we had to press it down a bit so that the ball would not get stuck where the two pieces met.
One piece of advice I would give to future students is to not choose something too ambitious, and try to create something easy but attractive, and actually follow someone else’s instructions. There is actually quite a time crunch (or is it just me?) , so it would be best to finish it in 6 lessons, and leave around 2 lessons to touch up on your project and fix some technical errors. My project almost failed because we took too much time to create our game, and there was a technical error on the last day. The only way I fixed it was coming to the Design lab during flex time.
Overall, I really loved the Design challenge, and the all the Design lessons.