As the mother of three boys there’s been an evolution of video gaming systems and games in my house for the past ten years. We’ve seen gaming system after gaming system upgraded. With the exception of the Wii, I’ve not really been interested in playing video games and I’ve managed to find other ways to entertain myself…mostly movies, books, and wine. When I do play video games I quickly get frustrated and give up. I mean how do my kids manage to drive their cars around these crazy racetracks, drifting, jumping, avoiding obstacles…when I can’t even manage to get my car to go in a straight line and stay on the track…and that’s without the wine.
So of course when I was asked to choose a motivating, fun e-game to review I went my resident experts…well, actually one resident expert…my eight year old. He recommended Cyclomaniacs at a website called http://www.addictinggames.com/index.html. I thought he had to be on to something if the site was called “addicting games” and so I checked it out. (Actually I’m relieved he was the only child home because I think I’d be reviewing the new release of Call of Duty if my teenage sons were home…and the thought of testing that game is a tad too intimidating.)
Apparently Cyclomaniacs resembles Nintendo’s classic NES racing game Excite Bike. While this game is available on many gaming websites, here’s how the Addicting Games website describes Cyclomaniacs, “Race tilty style against nine other opponents! Finish a few races and start saving your money. Upgrade yourself, and start unlocking increasingly absurd characters. Mr. C? Crouching Badger? Mr. Farty Pants?” This is a 2D side-scrolling bike game that involves tricks like wheelies, front flips, and back flips. There are 26 tracks, 20 different characters or riders that you can unlock, on 6 different worlds like Planetoid, 70 achievements, and 20 bike horns. To advance in the game you have to win races and score points by doing wheelies, flips, and other tricks during the race. Scoring points allows you to unlock new characters and worlds.
Check out a thorough, amusing review of the game on Casual Gameplay http://jayisgames.com/archives/2009/08/cyclomaniacs.php
What makes this game motivating to play? Malone and Lepper’s Taxonomy of Intrinsic Motivation for Learning defines classes of “individual” motivations (challenge, curiosity, fantasy, and control) and “intrapersonal” motivations (cooperation, competition, and recognition.) If you refer to Malone and Lepper’s Heuristics for Designing Intrinsically Motivating Instructional Environments as a guide for designing motivating learning experiences, you see that several of these classes are incorporated into this game’s design:
So what are you waiting for! Go flip for Cyclomaniacs. And by the way, I can manage to ride in a straight line on this game so I think I may just be addicted.