Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 5:52PM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Boxlife, Learning, Motivation, & The Mind, Super Crate Box

Recently, I wrote an article about how we can gain significant insight into our mental state/operations by analyzing our game states/actions when playing video games. I called this the game/mental state. In the second part of this article series I explained what I called the skyrocketing score phenomenon. For a quick recap, because our minds are limited and the process of building more effective strategies of complex games involves several steps that cannot be rushed, we will naturally experience a dip in performance before a significant amount of success. I also coined the term "suckcess" for this phenomenon. The pun is obvious. 

Since I wrote that article, I've searched for a data to support my claims. There aren't many games in my experience that not only saves high scores but saves all score attempts in chronological order. And it's even more rare to find a game that charts all the data out nicely. So I present BOXLIFE, a flawless DSi puzzle game. For 5 bucks, this game packs enough wonderful music, challenge, and unlockables all in an elegant package. In a few weeks, I mastered BOXLIFE. Doing so involved getting perfect scores in all 14 of the R&D puzzle challenges and repeatedly scoring high in the endless mode to earn money. At my peak level, I couldn't help but see the game in the tiles of my kitchen floor.


click to enlarge 

Reaching this level wasn't easy. My scores reflect my challenging journey. I will say, when attempting perfect scores in the R&D challenges, I frequently restarted my attempts when I messed up. For this reason, the score data won't accurately reflect the dips in performance I experienced (see image above). However, in the Factory (endless) mode even poor attempts netted me some cash for unlockables. Because I was more likely to stick it out to the end in these challenges, the graphs below very accurately reflect all of my attempts. 


 click to enlarge 

You can see all the skyrocketing spikes I have in my charts. The process of recognizing a weakness in my strategy, focusing on the area, trying something new, figuring out a solution, and piecing everything back together explains why my performance dipped so many times. The only way to get rid of these dips is to take breaks to give my mind some time to catch up. The problem with this idea is it can be difficult recognizing when a break is needed.   



start 4:00. 

After only playing the tutorial and one round of a different level, the video showcases all of Totalbiscuit's attempts. Here's the graph of his success (below). Notice the same dips in success before the skyrocketing effect. Notice also that from his 7th attempt scoring a 9 it takes him until his 34th attempt to score a score of 10. 

Article originally appeared on Critical-Gaming Network (
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