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Rocky's Boots Analysis

Page history last edited by Max Gibson 12 years, 6 months ago

Publisher: The Learning Company

Platform: PC  

Release Date: 1982



"Rocky’s Boots  was a visual simulation that made it possible for upper-grade-school students to design simple digital logic circuits, using a joystick to move around circuit symbols on the screen and plug them together."  -Warren Robinett and Leslie Grimm


Game Walkthrough

 Rocky’s Boots takes an ample amount of learning before a player is prepared for the main game. The game takes the player through simple tutorials to become familiar with all of the aspects of the game. The first tutorial explains movements and controls. Next the player is taught how to build machines in the game and learns that the object controlled by the character has electrical charge. The game then introduces logic gates, perhaps the most important objects in the game. The next step for the player is the section of the game called “Rocky’s Boots”. Here the player must use his knowledge about logic gates to solve puzzles. The last components of the game (flip-flops, clocks, and delays) are then introduced to the player. Once the player feels knowledgeable on the newest objects, he can attempt the puzzles located in “Rocky’s Challenge”.



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Game Objectives

 The games in “Rocky’s Boots” and “Rocky’s Challenge” require the player to use a boot to kick certain objects. Each object has its own point value. A perfect score in every game results in the player accumulating twenty-four points. To kick the right objects, the player will have to use logic gates, flip-flops, and more.


Educational Objectives

Rocky’s Boots takes the route of short simple tutorials because it hopes to teach a complicated subject. While the game teaches some problem solving, electronics, and circuit building, all of those come together with the rest of the game to teach some basics of computer engineering.


Motivational Elements     

While all of the predesigned games are available from the start of the game, the games get harder as the player moves down the list of games. Players will want to make it to the bottom of each screen of puzzles and will be able to see how far they have progressed.
If the puzzles provided by the game are not enough, players have the ability to design their own puzzles, truly testing their ability and intelligence. Players can change the both the targets and sensors. Players can either plan their puzzles out ahead of time or randomly apply point values, then try to obtain the optimum number of points.
Players can simply go around and build machines. In the logic gates tutorial there is a secret room guarded by an alligator. If the player is quick enough, he can go in the room and grab a boxing glove before being eaten. The boxing glove does not appear to be anywhere else in the game. A machine can be built with the boxing glove that will punch the alligator when the player enters the secret room. Even though there is no real reward, designing a machine that neutralizes the alligator and allows the player to stay in the secret room as long as he wants makes a player feel incredibly clever and satisfied.



Upon completing each game in “Rocky’s Boots” or “Rocky’s Challenge” with a perfect score, Rocky the Raccoon does a dance. While a short dance may seem like a small reward for solving some complex and difficult puzzles, there are numerous ways Rocky’s Boots keeps players interested. Some puzzles are difficult enough that simply winning is reward enough for the player, so players will feel extremely accomplished as they work their way down the long list of games.


Educational Outcomes

Rocky’s Boots is both a simple and complex game. There is little required to beat some of the easier games and the tutorials will make sure players have all the knowledge they need to complete them. However, latter puzzles require tremendous amounts of thought and knowledge. Players will have accumulated a substantial amount of knowledge about the fundamentals of computer engineering by the time they complete the hardest puzzles, possibly without even realizing that computer engineering is being taught. The one drawback of the game, from an educational standpoint, may be that it does not make the players entirely aware of what it hopes to teach them. The game teaches so much that even if a player does not become interested in the digital logic circuits that are the focus of the game, he may still become interested in electricity or analog circuits. Rocky’s Boots presents a difficult subject in an accessible manner making it an excellent learning tool.


Additional Video


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