Short Exercise: What do Prototypes Prototype?

Our team is working on a variation of the classic party game beer pong: PONG-ATHLON. Our game follows the same mechanics of beer pong but with cups whose color corresponds to a different challenge category. Below I have identified some questions I hope to answer with our prototype.

  1. Does having a team and seeing your friends do “dumb” things actually motivate players themselves to engage in the challenges?
    • The entire game relies on our assumption that people are willing to participate in silly challenges to see their friends do so as well. Answering this question is important because our assumption is the foundation of fun in our game.
    • To test this assumption, simulate this aspect of the game by using pieces of paper with different challenges written on them and testing them on 2 teams of 5 people. Whichever team finishes the challenges first wins. We can observe if players are engaged with the challenges throughout the game and their behavior for example if they cheer their teammates on or not.
    • My guess is that our assumption will be correct because of games like Truth or Dare in which the fun, similarly, comes from seeing your friends do challenges.
  2. What challenge categories/challenges do people enjoy the most? Which do they enjoy the least?
    • Connecting to the question above, one of the variables in testing the aspect of motivation is the challenges themselves. We need to ensure that the challenges are things people want to do and have fun doing.
    • Similar to the first prototype, we would brainstorm different challenges from different categories such as food related challenges, physical activity challenges, etc. as well as different challenges for those categories and observe which challenges people enjoy the most. We could also conduct a post evaluation and ask players what challenges they enjoy for some ideas.
  3. The game requires that you must make a ball into a cup to complete a challenge. With that being said, is the game fun for players that aren’t as skilled at beer pong? What happens to their motivation after a while?
    • Players can come from a wide spectrum of beer pong skills. We want to make sure that the game is still fun for people who might not be the best at shooting the ball.
    • We could prototype this by setting up a game of beer pong and having people from various skill levels play. We can observe and evaluate each player’s motivation as the game goes on.
    • My guess is that the game will still be fun for those who aren’t as skilled; however, if it is not, I am wondering how we can modify the game so that you maybe don’t have to wait to make a ball to do a challenge and have to do some other task instead. Sort of like a having cost for not making it (additional challenge, take a shot, etc.) but doing it so the game can move on.

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