A game I enjoy is Pineapple Pen. It has a simple game architecture consisting of one loop that allows the player to practice shooting a pen into a fruit (either an apple or a pineapple) that moves back and forth horizontally on the screen.
- The player starts with a mental model that prompts them to tap the screen sometime.
- The player makes a decision about when to tap the screen.
- The player applies an action, tapping once as the fruit moves towards the center of the screen.
- The mysterious black box within the game, the game rules, begins executing hidden code. Time, an abstract resource, advances.
- Finally, the computer generates visual feedback on the screen that the pen is shooting towards the fruit and hits the fruit right when it reaches the center of the screen, and the score increases.
- A few more loops through the interactions, the player updates their mental model that tapping the screen with the right timing causes the pen to hit the fruit. This realization of repeatable cause and effect is a moment of mastery, where the player acquires a new mental tool to earn a score.