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Nov 21, 2016

Speed Pack: Bringing Thurstone's Punched Holes Task to Life

When our Game Artists brainstorm themes to bring our games to life, common dilemmas and familiar situations often provide inspiration. In Trouble Brewing, for instance, a busy coffee shop made the original divided attention game feel concrete, while a classic race car theme made Speed game Highway Hazards more engaging. And the sometimes puzzle-like quality of packing a suitcase inspired our game Speed Pack.

As we described in our blog post The People Behind Your Favorite Lumosity Games, all of our games are the product of collaboration between a Research Scientist, a Games Engineer, and a Games Artist. Speed Pack is no different.

Specifically, the process of developing Speed Pack began with our Research Scientist’s investigation into Thurstone’s Punched Holes task. Thurstone’s Punched Holes is a classic 20th century cognitive task that asks participants to imagine how a piece of paper would look when folded, punched with a hole, then unfolded. This mental folding challenges the brain’s visualization skills — making it a great foundation for a new game.

With Thurstone’s Punched Holes as the foundation, our Games Engineer began work on translating the task into a game. Through weeks of testing prototypes with both Lumosity employees and users, the Games Engineer was able to refine the original concept into an engaging new experience — one that could adapt the game’s difficulty to the specific player’s ability and which still preserved Thurstone’s underlying cognitive challenge.

Our Games Designer then outfitted the game with the suitcase-packing theme and it became Speed Pack. This isn’t to say that mastering Speed Pack will mitigate any future packing frustration; the game is designed to challenge speed and visualization, not actual packing skills. (This is reflected, in part, by the fact that the game features some pretty bizarre suitcase shapes!) But the packing theme does make Speed Pack feel fresh, fun, and relatable — not exactly the words that first come to mind when you hear “Thurstone’s Punched Holes task.”

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