Give me a (Video Game) Break!

According to the “experts” sourced in click-bait articles, playing video games during work can be beneficial in helping restore your “affective abilities” so as to “restore [your] mood in response to stress“. Furthermore, “Stepping away from a tricky task for a few minutes of gaming might spur a new perspective on a business problem or help to reset your mind during an especially difficult day“.

Of course, I didn’t need an expert to tell me that playing games was a productive way of taking breaks. You probably didn’t either. What you might need is a list of our favorite browser based, quick-hit games that you can play at work. Have fun out there, and remember that alt+tab (or ctrl + w) are your best friends. (ノ・_-)☆

1. https://geoguessr.com/

Geoguessr drops you at a random location on Google Maps, and you have to guess where you are on the map. Scroll to explore the area to gather clues (like street signs or landmarks). The better your guess of your location, the more points you get. The game allows you to play by yourself or create a session that you can share with your friends.

2. https://www.sporcle.com/quizzes/

Find a quiz you like and test your knowledge. They’ve got everything from quizzes about European Countries to Lizzie McGuire Movie Quotes. There isn’t a formal sharing option, but you can send links to the quizzes and hope your friends report their scores accurately.

3. https://thewikigame.com/

Starting from a random Wikipedia page, get to a certain page in the fewest clicks or fastest time possible. While there isn’t a direct challenge-your-friends option, all players on the game at any given time are playing the same session. This game gets bonus points from us for making it look like you’re actually doing some research.

4. http://www.mini-putt.org/

 

This game has been around since I was in middle-school, and it’s still as good as I remember. No frills, no thrills. Just simple putt putt golfing. The sound effects are pretty low-key and maybe even soothing. No multi-player option (this game is at least 10 years old, after all), but golf is a solitary sport anyway.

5. http://www.pazaak.org/

If you’ve ever played Pazaak on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you’ll be pleased to know an online version is out there. You can build your own Sidedeck and earn better cards just like the KOTOR version. Unlike the other games on this list that can be played solo, this game requires at least two live players. You can send the link to a buddy and get online at the same time.

Special Mentions

Free Cell

On a whim, I decided to see whether this was still available on Windows 7… looks like it’s still here (with flashier graphics to boot!). You can also find Minesweeper and Solitaire along with some other games (Mahjong and Spider Solitaire). Unfortunately, it looks like you’ll have to download Space Cadets Pinball on your own.

Out of the Frying Pan

We’ve got a big announcement to make —

Breakfast of Champions has now reached the playtest phase! It’s been under development for a couple months now, so presenting the  game to our friends and family is a really exciting milestone for StrongWing Studios. Not to get sentimental on this post, but I tear up when I remember BoC as just a grey canvas with colorful circles that could barely follow my mouse.

Playtesting Breakfast of Champions

Mirroring traditional software testing phases, we decided to cut up our playtest into two subphases – the friends and family phase (alpha testing) and the open-to-everyone-oh-god-its-scary phase (beta testing). We also consulted several resources (the most influential being Playtesting: Avoiding Evil Data and the Extra Credits YouTube Channel) to help us develop our gameplan for this phase of BoC’s development.

In this post, we’re going to talk about our experience during the friends and family phase (alpha testing)

★ The Players★

During the family and friends phase of our playtest, we expect to find the really obvious bugs or design flaws. Up to this point, Nick and I have really been the only ones playing this game, so we want to squash the low-hanging fruit that this group can point out to us.

We didn’t, however, limit our friends and family testers to just gamers. BoC is meant to be easy to pick up for anyone at any age even if we do have a target audience in mind, so we asked pretty much everyone in our contacts: parents, nephews, college friends, frenemies, acquaintances, yada yada.

★ The Location★

Where your players are playing your game could be just as influential as who the players are. Since BoC is a pick-up casual game, we want our testers to play the game wherever they want.

★ Feedback mechanism★

We hate ratings because it’s hard to draw any meaningful conclusions from them — one man’s 1 star could very well be another man’s 10 stars. We are asking our testers to give feedback via e-mail. If we have questions about any feedback received, we’ll follow up with a phone call or even a FaceTime session if we need to really dig down into the problem.

★Filtering feedback (avoiding evil data)★

At all stages of the playtest, we expect some feedback to be less helpful than others, so we are being acceptingly-critical of the feedback we receive. We accept the feedback, but are critical about whether changes need to be made because of it. With a small sample size, it is even more important for us to be this critical because we do not have the luxury of understanding whether an issue is pervasive.

Some of the feedback we’ve already received include button placement issues on the tutorial, graphics performance, and inability to play the game at work.

Today is day three of our alpha test, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from our testers (who haven’t been told about this blog post).

See you on our next post when we talk about how we wrapped up alpha testing and began our beta test! If you’re interested, sign up for our newsletter to be notified immediately when Breakfast of Champions is ready for open testing!

First Post!

Thanks for reading the very first StrongWing Studio blog post! Come back here every now and then to check out our latest updates. You won’t regret it at all… Actually, we can’t promise that. We don’t know you or what’s going on in your life. (Did I mention we have a newsletter?)

Anyway, while we have your attention, here’s a summary of what we’ve been up to so far:

  • Nick started up this site and continues to work on making it interesting to hold even the shortest attention spans
  • Nick, Anna, and Neil took glam shots and brainstormed pithy things to write about in their respective bios
  • Anna wrote this blog post
  • Neil slept, ate, meowed, farted, and went back to sleep (pictured below)

 

 

 

 

Oh, and we can’t end this blog post without at least mentioning the game we have in development right now! It’s called Breakfast of Champions, and it’s coming along swimmingly.

 

Later.