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52. IdeaSpark*: Roly-Poly Game November 20, 2006

Posted by Matt Fleming, PsyD in IdeaSpark*, Plaything, Product.

I had this IdeaSpark* some time ago, but only recently came across this online version that demonstrates it perfectly. The online game is called Roly-Poly, and you can play it here, at Miniclips.com. The basic idea is to get your round hedgehog to the checkered goal by rotating the entire environment in each direction, and not let him fall off the platforms onto the spikes.

My IdeaSpark* is almost identical to this, but it is a mechanical version that would require manual dexterity, and the hedgehog would be your quarter (coin), instead. Imagine something like this on a wall in a bar or arcade, and you put a quarter in the top. Your goal is to get your quarter safely to the goal by rotating the vertical disk/field back and forth.

Read on for more…

I hope I am being clear in my description (maybe I will draw a diagram later). If your quarter falls off the disk, you lose. If you get the quarter to the end, you get a sense of accomplishment, pride, and bragging rights. There could even be a timer for more competition between players.

To maximize participation frequency, there would need to be continual changes for new challenges. Therefor, the actual physical hardware of this game could be adjustable. That is, the platforms pieces (what the quarter rolls on) could be altered and moved around (e.g. they are magnetized), to generate endless iterations and new challenges.

I think this would work because of the novelty factor and the skill requirement. I suspect that most people try those carnival skill games not so much for the large stuffed animal prize (i.e. cheap clutter), but to see if they can succeed.

Speaking of coin-eaters, I have recently wondered if a single cigarette dispensing machine would do well in a bar.  Put in a quarter, and get one cigarette of your choosing.  This is for all the casual smokers out there, or the ones that only like to smoke when they drink.  No more using lame excuses to bum a loosy off the chain-smokers.  This vending machine would also have to be movable (to be periodically placed outdoors), since most bars are moving to smoke-free status.

Below are similar coin eaters:

The Coin Vortex. Watch your coins hypnotically spin round and round. I have seen smaller bar-top versions.

Read more about it here.






The Coin Shooter: I haven’t tried this personally, but it is an example of a manual dexterity coin eater. I think the object is to shoot your coin into the hole (“basket”).

Read more about it here.


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