HTML Memory

HTML Memory

by Dallas Jones

Dallas works full-time and attends grad school at night. In addition to the lofty pursuit of technological excellence, he likes to play with nerdy things like the Internet for long periods of time. Dallas lives in La Mesa, CA with his wife, Shannon.

Instructional Objective: After playing this game, the learner will be able to quickly select the HTML tag necessary to create a given text effect.

Learners/Context: The learners are HTML writers who desire to further their ability to quickly determine the correct HTML tag to use for a given situation.

HTML Memory is intended for use when the learner has already been exposed to and is basically familiar with HTML tags. The game is not intended as an introductory lesson in HTML, but rather serves as practice for the learner to further develop the conceptual link between a desired outcome and the appropriate HTML tag to acheive that outcome.

Rationale: HTML is a very simplistic language, so it seems logical that the card game should be similarly straightforward. The game is intended to make what might be tedious rote memorization a bit more enjoyable without detracting from the purpose of the game -- getting the learners to remember what HTML tag corresponds to a particular function. Using a card game for this topic helps add a little bit of fun to an otherwise potentially boring task.

Rules: HTML Memory is designed for two players.

  1. Prepare the deck for play.
    1. Shuffle the deck thoroughly.
    2. Deal the cards onto a desk or table. All 36 cards should be placed face-down neatly in rows and columns, preferably in a 6x6 array.

  2. The players alternate turns. A turn consists of turning two cards of the player's choice face-up on the playing surface.
    Once all of the pairs have been captured, the players count their cards to determine the winner -- the player with the most matched pairs.
As a single-player game, the player merely continues playing until all the pairs have been matched. Single-player effectiveness may be impaired, since there is little incentive for the player to win and ample opportunity for cheating.

Card Design:

Sample Description Card - - - Sample HTML Tag Card

Sample Card Backside

Deck Design: HTML Memory consists of 36 cards--18 description cards and 18 tag cards. Thirty-six seemed to be a good number because it lends itself to a 6x6 array, which is farily managable for most tabletops -- approximately two and a half feet by three feet for standard-size playing cards. Eighteen pairs seems sufficient to cover a number of HTML tags, since it is possible to omit the redundant closing (slash) tags.

Design Process: The most difficult part of the design process was settling for a simple design. I initially envisioned a game similar to one called Flinch; however, the rules are incredibly complicated. It made little sense to develop a complicated game for a fairly straightforward subject.

My next consideration was a poker-style game, in which HTML tags would be used to form complete HTML hands -- the more complete the hand, the higher the score. I rejected this idea since (1) the odds of getting a viable HTML hand seemed low, (2) counting like cards, as in poker, defeats the purpose of the game, and (3) the overall purpose of the game was to reinforce the concept of each tag.

Since HTML tags don't necessarily have a specific order or value, and I didn't want to assign one artificially, a memory-style game seemed most suitable. The war class of card games most closely fit my designs, since (per the Card Game Design handout) it serves to focus on simple relationships between two cards.

The card design was accomplished in a very short time. I didn't want the deck to be ugly, but the aesthetics of the deck didn't seem that crucial. Additionally, I wanted to avoid having too much decoration on each card, since the most critical part of each card is the text or tag.

Last updated by Dallas Jones on September 28, 1995.

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Educational Technology 670, Fall 1995.