One of the testers asked if I could create a level of Blindfold Color Crush that had common household sounds and another level of bird songs. Blindfold Color Crush is a matching game where you have to get three identical items adjacent to each other, by swapping them with other items. It’s a variant of Candy Crush or Bejeweled.
The household sounds were easy to find, but the bird songs were harder. I licensed some audio sound effects that included over 80 bird songs, and picked the best for a new level of Color Crush.
When I described the new version to the testers, they thought I should create a bird song training game. I learned that several schools for the blind offer classes in recognizing bird songs, and they thought the game would be both educational and enjoyable.
The first version of the game was easy – it listed the names of the birds in one column, and the bird songs in another column. You first pick bird, and then flick through the songs until you find a match. The first level starts out with 3 birds and 3 songs, and each new level adds another 2 birds and 2 songs. Pretty soon, you are playing a naming game with over 50 birds.
Once game was bug-free (pardon the pun), someone suggested adding a memory game to Blindfold Bird Songs. The matching game starts off with 6 squares in a 2 row by 3 column grid, with each bird song appearing twice in the grid. The goal is to remember where you heard each bird, and find the corresponding match. After many levels, the grid has about 50 squares, and you must find the match each of the 25 bird songs.
Scoring this game was little difficult – I needed a scoring system that would reward good answers, but penalize wrong ones. I didn’t want people to play just randomly. When you find a match, you earn 2 points, but lose 1 point for each wrong answer.
The final piece was to give a reward for finishing each level. My first reward was to give a different humorous saying for completing a level, such as the quote by Steven Wright “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time”. Several people pointed out that the humor quotes have nothing to do with the game, so I changed the reward to bird facts like “Penguins can jump as high as 6 feet in the air”.
The game has been quite a hit, and now people are asking for variations on this game.