As I continue playing my game (Nambers) I have figured out more and more tips and tricks that are very helpful. First off, the number in the top left corner next to the stars tells you how many moves you have left in order to get all 3 stars on the level. You can see that in the picture below, you should complete that level in three moves. Once you go over that amount of moves in order to complete the level you get one less star for every extra move. Watching this number as you play, especially on the more difficult levels becomes very frustrating. And that is because you could still solve the challenge and be able to move on to the next level but not get any stars for it, which is super unsatisfactory. To make it even more daunting of a goal you can see on the main game board how many stars you’ve gotten on each level, and it tells you the total amount of stars you’ve received out of the 120 possible. So even if you complete the level and can move on to the next one you have this need to go back and figure out how to complete the level in a more strategic way in order to get all of the stars.
This aligns with Gee’s (2007) idea that learning must be pleasantly frustrating to motivate students. Students have to be challenged to prevent feeling bored or stressed. The stars add that extra challenge into the game. Sure, you could complete the game by making as many moves as you want to, but that’s not very interesting and could get very frustrating when you’re up to 20 moves for one of these levels when most of them can be completed in less than 6. The added challenge of the moves limit reminds me of golf and the par, you don’t have to get the ball into the hole in that many swings however if you do make the par you will do better overall in the game and you will feel more accomplished. This is the exact situation in this game, when you don’t exceed the moves limit you do better by getting more stars and feel more accomplished because you can see all of your stars on your game menu (shown below).
This game also aligns with Gee’s idea of the Cycle of Expertise. Gee states that “Expertise is formed in any area by repeated cycles of learners practicing skills until they are nearly automatic, then having those skills fail in ways that cause the learners to have to think again and learn anew” (37). As you increase what level you are completing you have to use skills you’ve gained from the previous levels in order to succeed. However, some of the skills you have learned will fail you once you move on to the next level of the game. For example, in the first few blue levels you only have to change the numbers once to get to the correct answer (which is a skill you learned), however, then once you move up to the higher levels you have to change the numbers multiple times and in different ways in order to complete the puzzle (this is the skill failing you). The first level where I had to change the numbers multiple times really threw me for a loop, I couldn’t believe that I would have to do that when I originally didn’t. I figured the game would get more difficult as the levels increased, however, I simply thought that they would just add in more boxes to make a larger puzzle.
Read my next blog post (Post 2c) for my discussion on the next set of levels in this game and my overall opinion of it!