Challenge 5: “Heads Up!”

How the game works “Heads Up” is a contemporary version of charades that can easily be played on a mobile app. Players choose to guess from an array of categories ranging from “movies” to “animals.” Then, one player who is designated the guesser holds a phone up to their forehead which displays a key phrase. Other players who can see the noun describe it to the guesser without using any words in the key phrase until the guesser gets it right. The guesser then tilts the phone down to indicate that they guessed correctly and the screen refreshes with a new key phrase. If the guesser is struggling, he or she can choose to skip this key phrase by tilting the phone upwards and receiving a new one. This continues repeatedly until the timer runs out. At the end of the round, the guesser sees how many key phrases they guessed correctly and incorrectly. The phone gets passed on to the next guesser and another round ensues. Who likely enjoys it “Heads Up” is appropriate for audiences of all ages given that you can filter out the categories for which you want to play this guessing game. For example, younger audiences will enjoy categories such as Disney movies or kinds of animals, whereas older audiences could choose celebrities or more adult topics. As for enjoyment, it is best enjoyed in a small group (around 5-7 people, although it can be a 2-player game), so that there are enough people to be involved in the guessing component while still maintaining a level of order and intimacy. Key design decisions  One user places the smartphone against their forehead and has a limited amount of time (30 seconds to 1 minute) to guess objects in the chosen category. Say the category chosen was “Celebrities”. Once the timer begins, the smartphone screen will display the name of a celebrity (say, Brad Pitt), and it is the job of all the other players to help the user guess “Brad Pitt” correctly. The other players can do this through miming or verbal clues, though they are never allowed to say the celebrity’s name itself. Once the user has correctly guessed “Brad Pitt”, she tilts the smartphone screen downwards to indicate the game must now display a new name. The user continues to try and guess as many celebrities correctly as she can within the given time frame, and the rest of the players are engaged throughout due to their theatrical contributions. Finally, once the timer is up, say the user marks how many names she guessed correctly, and passes the smartphone to the next user. The goal is that every player has the chance to be the user (the guesser), and while he/she is not the user, he/she is aiding the user in guessing what is displayed on their screens correctly. Players have to strike a balance between trying to guess the current word and not wasting too much time on any single word, because they have the option to “pass” on the current word. Having to make this judgment call, while trying to rack your brain to guess the word correctly within a stringent time limit, makes the atmosphere very exciting, fast-paced and highly energetic, with a lot of shouting, screaming and adrenaline. How players progress in it Players progress by guessing the word/object as fast as they can. They have only 30 seconds for each word, and aim to guess as many words correctly as they can in each round. Players could progress individually by getting more “hits” in successive rounds, in which case they are competing against their own previous scores. They could also play against each other in teams, and progress by maintaining a lead against the other team. However, each round is basically self-contained.

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