I was recently having a conversation with a colleague who also teaches physics and he made an interesting observation. He said that he noticed that one of his students were getting frustrated over a game she was playing on her laptop. As he began to watch her attempt to play the game, he found a very peculiar reason to struggle with a game.
You see, this game was one where you had to drop pigs onto chickens a certain number of times in a given time frame. Only, the game completely ignored Newton’s First Law of Motion. No matter the state of motion of the pigs upon release, they all fell straight down without regard to their previous state of motion.
This, of course, is completely unrealistic and most people would recognize it without studying a single page of a physics textbooks. The student was struggling because she was having a hard time ignoring reality while she was playing the game. Honestly, she was TOO KNOWLEDGEABLE to be successful at the game.
Another excellent example of this phenomena is Golden Gate Drop (found at Coffee Break Arcade), which is a tricky game to play because largely because you have to adjust to a whole new set of Laws of Motion to be successful.
On the other hand, Taberinos, (found at Armor Games) is an excellent example of a game that works as hard as it can to be as true to reality as possible. This, of course, makes the game seem easy at first and is practically irresistible once it starts getting more difficult. It takes into account friction, laws of reflection, conservation of momentum, among others and also would be an excellent way to illustrate reflection patterns and discuss angle bisectors.
It is my goal through the life of this blog to mention more games like this. Go ahead and check out Taberinos and if you know of any other games that are true to the physics or the geometry, I would love to play them and post them here. Be sure to add them to the comments.
Oh, and by the way, my high score on Taberinos was 3368. Post in the comments if you can beat that.