Marshall Bros. Adventure

Marshall Bros. Adventure is an educational game for children to learn about their computer and improve their typing competency and spelling skills. The player follows the characters, The Marshall Brothers on their expedition through temples and ruins to solve spelling puzzles. It is the player’s responsibility to use their typing and spelling skills to unlock the doors and obtain the secret treasures.

Kids VS. The Keyboard

My professor assigned a project for PBDS 662 to develop a product or service to a technological illiterate audience. At the time, I was a teacher for a summer school program. I was teaching the technology course to first grade to fifth grade students between the ages of three to ten. I have noticed my students were learning their way around the computer, but they became confused or frustrated, finding the keys they were looking for. Therefore, students were discouraged about computers.

The Key is The Adventure

I have started my observation of the classroom and monitored my students’ behavior for a week. I have recognized their constant confusion and discontent with their computers. Some students were grunting, and other students raised their hand for help. These behaviors became useful information to assist the direction of my project.

Then, I have created a brainstorming web with the main subject at the center and developing any ideas related to the subject. I have written many terms, but I’ve highlighted the words, “video game”, “puzzle”, “typing”, “spelling”, “key”, and “mouse”. Those words gave me an idea to create a typing, spelling game involving a mouse character to guide the player to spell words to unlock rooms and treasures.

The Marshall Bros. Adventure

First, I wanted to create the logomark. I wanted to add extra features like adding a key or a signage behind the logomark, but it became cluttered and overwhelming. So, I’ve decided to scratch the logomark idea and tackle a logotype. I had to search on Pinterest for inspiration and references of video game logos. They were bold and fun and my logotype idea was a similar approach.

I had to search for a particular typeface that matches my vision of the logotype. I found a font called “FatFrank”. It was big, bold and friendly, and just the right font to represent the game. However, it was flat, so I made some adjustments to the font to add dimension to the logotype.

Then, it was time to create some interfaces of the game. I wanted to create a simple interface for an easy experience for my students, so I had to conduct some wireframing and prototyping. For the main menu, there would be a jungle background with a “Play” button, “How to Play” button, and “Settings” button. When the player begins to play, the player’s notebook will appear with several puzzle challenges to tackle. For the puzzle interface, there will be a screen to display the spelling puzzle and the characters in the corner to guide or encourage the players.

Who Are The Marshall Brothers?

The character was the challenging part of the project. I knew that I wanted a mouse to be a representative of the game, as it is a reference to a computer mouse, but what is the name, background, and style of the character? I was searching for inspiration and references on Pinterest for mouse characters and I had an idea to design the character to be a spelunker and locksmith. The character’s name would be Marshall, a small, enthusiastic mouse who is a locksmith with a spirit of adventure and treasure hunting. Then, I’ve decided that he should have a big brother named Marshall too; therefore, becoming The Marshall Brothers. However, what are their personalities? I had to determine their characteristics, so they would be distinguished. I had sketched the characters in various styles, but I wasn’t satisfied. They were goofy or serious or unrelatable. I wanted to find the right style for an appropriate audience. So, it was back to the drawing board until I found the right style for The Marshall Brothers.

The Goal and Beyond

Marshall Bros. Adventure will provide a comfortable and encouraging experience for young students to learn about computers and technology. It is the game to overcome the frustration and intimidation and deliver an enjoyable, enthusiastic, and educational experience.