A Game of Catch

In the June 1st workshop, the children had drawn pictures of themselves playing different variations of the game “catch”. In one particular game, they described how they would throw a Nerf ball from one person to another. This version was an interesting take on the Hot Potato game with a dark theme suggested by the children where the ball became a dangerous bomb. In this game the children would throw while counting down from ten. When the count reached zero any child holding the ball would be “caught out” and would sit out until the end of the game.

While playing this game, they would begin the game with a chant where they described the ball by saying “it’s a bomb, it’s a bomb, it’s a really big bomb”. They then chanted together as they counted down. At the end of the count they would make a sound to indicate that one person had been caught out.

This game can be played without digital equipment, but we decided to make a digital version of the game with sound effects from the children. These sounds were played out loud using a computer. This digital version explored what would happen if the digital technology performed the count, which might stop children from playing unfairly. However, in an interesting twist the children decided it might be nice to use the controller to play an extra sound effect “throw”. This would encourage the player holding the ball to throw it along and not be held too long by any one player.

The game was implemented on a Mac Book, and a Bluetooth speaker used to make the sound loud enough for outside play. A PlayStation Move controller was added to the game to allow some control. This controller gave the players who were caught out something to do, since the game relied on a player to reset the game using the Start button on the PlayStation Move controller, while the Trigger was used to shout “Throw” to anyone holding onto the ball.

The programming code for this game has been uploaded onto GitHub, and can be compiled and run on Mac OSX.