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Let’s hack rock-paper-scissors!

Using rock-paper-scissors as a base, I’ll give you several creative mini-challenges to hack that game into different new games and get reacquainted with your creativity. After you’ve hacked a few new games inspired by rock-paper-scissors you’ll feel empowered and ready to start hacking more complex games that express / explore your interests.

Make sure you take a break between each challenge. Let your brain recharge by doing something different (than making games).

Here are the mini-challenges:

⏳5️⃣ 5 minutes challenge (1of3) 

Put a 5 minutes timer on, and jot down all the ideas to hack RPS that come to your mind. Remember, there is no judgement at this point. Mute that critical voice inside you, and write / sketch everything that comes up. Also keep in mind that at this point you don’t need to have all the rules fleshed out. An idea is not a complete game, but it could be a spark for a game. Say, “a version of RPS you play only with your feet”.. I don’t know if and how it could work, but it’s an idea. The goal of this exercise is creating as many ideas as you can in 5 minutes!

Take a 5 minutes break.

⏳5️⃣ 5 minutes challenge (2of3)

Another 5 minutes timer, come up with bad ideas. Think about ways to make RPS terrible, impossible, too difficult, too boring. Whenever an idea comes to mind, write / sketch it down and then think “what could be even worse than that?”. Keep going for 5 minutes!

Take a 5 minutes break.

⏳5️⃣ 5 minutes challenge (3of3)

Another 5 minutes timer. Think about ways to make RPS playable by 3 or more people at the same time. The more, the better!

Take a 5 minutes break.

⌛️1️⃣5️⃣ 15 minutes from idea to playable game

Now, how many ideas did you come up with in 15 minutes? Pick the one you feel most inspired by (and if there are more than one that inspire you, pick one of them at random, and repeat this exercise later) and think about how you would actually play it. How will players express their moves.. with their hands, their voices, something else? And what will those moves look or sound like? How do you win a round? How do you win this game? Can you even win? Give yourself 15 minutes to write down some notes, then find someone to play-test your new game with!

When you try out your new game, keep in mind it may not work as you imagined. That’s ok, because a game is something you improve through playtesting. Don’t be discouraged, try and tweak the game while you are playing it with other people. Even experienced game designers keep changing their games when they playtest them. Tweak and test until you’re happy with the results. And don’t worry about binning an idea and trying a new one. The good thing about having many ideas is that you don’t have to stick with one.

What next?

Congratulations! You just made your own game 🙂 (or maybe even more than one) 

You’re now ready to start hacking more complex games that express and explore your own interests.


Here are some bonus challenges:

💞 cooperative hack-paper-scissors

🏝 solitaire hack-paper-scissors

📞 voice-only hack-paper-scissors