The games at the Imagine Cup are always fun, but they tend to focus more on raising awareness of problems than actually solving them. But this year’s winner of game design for Windows Phone, the Drexel Dragons from the U.S., wanted to create a game that actually made a difference in the area of one of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Of those, “education is the most suited to making a difference with a game,” says team member Matt Lesnak.
They likened most educational games to “chocolate-covered broccoli,” saying they just try to sugarcoat learning, without actually using the game as an effective teaching tool. Their game, MathDash, aims to fix that. Numbers zip around the screen, and the user has to combine them to fill the equations at the bottom. Simple enough, but when you’re actually playing it and the numbers are bouncing all over the place, and the ones you need keep getting sucked into black holes and you can’t remember for the life of you what to add to 7 to make 12, it can be quite tricky.