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  • Game Design Challenge: Living the Dream(cast)

    - Danny Cowan
  •'s Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Every other Wednesday we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have two weeks to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). After the two week submission period elapses, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted.

    The Challenge

    Design a game for one of three unconventional Dreamcast peripherals.

    Assignment Details

    Sega's Dreamcast hosted a slate of wildly creative games, many of which required dedicated peripherals. Peripheral-driven games have seen a sharp decline in the years since, though as Harmonix's Rock Band series demonstrated, players are still willing to fill their living rooms with plastic guitars and drumkits for the sake of unique, compelling gameplay experiences.

    As part of Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, your job is to design a game that uses one of these three Dreamcast peripherals for input:

    - The Dreamcast Fishing Controller
    - Samba de Amigo Maracas
    - The Dream Para Para Controller

    At first, you may think that these devices have limited use. Back in the Dreamcast's day, however, developers often found creative ways to support peripherals in unconventional ways. Mr. Driller, for example, allowed players to drill through blocks by shaking the Samba de Amigo Maracas, and Soulcalibur mapped vertical and horizontal strikes to the motion-sensing Fishing Controller. This challenge's winning designs will display a similar level of ingenuity.

    Here is a brief overview of these controllers' features:

    The Dreamcast Fishing Controller senses vertical and horizontal movement, similar to the Nintendo Wii Remote. It includes an analog joystick, five face buttons, and a reel that can be spun in two directions.

    The Samba de Amigo Maracas use floor sensors to judge the height at which they are shaken. The Samba de Amigo game itself challenges players to shake the maracas in one of six positions (at high, medium, and low heights) in time to a backing music track.

    (Image source)

    The Dream Para Para Controller is an unlicensed peripheral used in an unauthorized clone of Konami's arcade dance game Para Para Paradise. The controller consists of five floor sensors spread in a curved shape in front of the player. Each individual sensor detects player hand movements during gameplay.

    Can you design a game that uses one of these peripherals in an unexpected, compelling way? This is a tough one -- good luck!

    To Submit

    Work on your ideas, figure out your strategy for coming up with a solution, and ask questions on the forums. When your submission is complete, send it to [email protected] with the subject line "Game Design Challenge: Living the Dream(cast)" Please type your answer directly in the email body -- do not submit .pdf or Word documents.

    Submissions should be no more than 500 words and may contain up to three images. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, July 17.

    Results will be posted Tuesday, July 23.

    Disclaimer: is not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to the Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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