For my second game, I chose to play Coffee Shop. The player of the game has the option at the beginning to create a coffee shop name, or stick with the computer generated name. This game is similar in some ways to the Lemonade Stand game that I played first. However, the large difference in this game lies in the fact that the player is required to make their recipe for coffee. I chose this game because I felt it was a more advanced version of the Lemonade Stand game. Since it is more challenging, I in turn became more interested in succeeding, which ultimately led me to become much better at this game than the Lemonade Stand. At the beginning of the Coffee Shop game, the player is given $30, which is then used to purchase: cups, coffee, milk, and sugar. Next, the player makes his or her own coffee recipe. Making a recipe for coffee on this game includes adjusting how much sugar, milk, and coffee on a scale of 1 to 4. When the game starts, a clue is given to the player that customers enjoy their coffee with lots of each ingredient. Although, upon starting the game, it is not possible to financially stay afloat while including each of the ingredients at the level of 4 on the scale. However, as the player begins to make a profit, adjusting the levels on all three ingredients to 4 becomes possible. After making your recipe for the day and pressing start, the player does not have the option to adjust their recipe, but the player can adjust the price of the coffee as the day progresses.
Another interesting aspect of this game is the clues given by the customers, which are visible above their heads. There are 6 main clues given, which are: magnets, milk with up arrow, snowflakes, dollar sign with a green border, dollar sign with red up arrow, and the sun. The magnet means that a customer has heard of this coffee stand and wants to try your coffee. The milk carton with an up arrow indicates that customers would like your coffee more if more milk was included in the recipe. The snowflakes mean that customers are cold and want a cup of coffee to warm up. The dollar signs with a green border means that the customer was satisfied with his or her cup of coffee, and how much they spent on it. The dollar signs with a red up arrow indicates that the price of the coffee is too high and they do not want to purchase coffee from your stand. Finally, the sun indicates that it is too hot outside for some customers to purchase coffee.
It is also important to remember while playing Coffee Shop is the weather. Similar to the Lemonade Stand game, the weather is also a very important in the Coffee Shop game. Customers are more likely to buy coffee when it is cold outside, and are more likely to pay a higher amount. On the other hand, if it is warm or hot outside, customers are not as interested in purchasing coffee. This leads the player to lower the price on hot days, and increase the price on cold days in order to make a profit.
In addition, at the end of each day there are sometimes messages that are included as a part of the game. These messages do not appear at the end of each day, and are solely included as an extra difficulty factor. For example, at the end of some days a message will appear that ants invaded your sugar, and you now have no sugar left. Another message states that some of your coffee became stale, and you lost 50% of what you originally had. Finally, the most common message stated is that the milk spoiled and you will need to replace it. Although at times these messages were annoying, it presented another level of challenge to the player regarding how to budget what you buy in the sense that you do not want to run out mid-day. However, you also do not want to buy so great of an amount of ingredients that you are wasting money.
After the end of each of the fourteen days, the player is given a summary of how much of each ingredient was used, the cash income, the reputation of the coffee shop from customer reactions, number of cups sold, and price. This is the time of the game where you, as the player, are able to see the amount of money you made as profit. Knowing how much profit you made allows you to then purchase the correct number of ingredients in preparation for the next day.
In conclusion, I enjoyed my time playing the Coffee Shop game much more than I enjoyed playing the Lemonade Stand game. I believe my enjoyment stemmed from the larger level of challenges presented with this game. With that being said, I still believe that both games would be applicable in the classroom setting. However, I would use each game for different grade levels. I believe that the Coffee Shop game would be much more successful in a middle school setting due to the challenges, and the prior background knowledge students in a middle school classroom would have with math. The Lemonade Stand game could also be used in a middle school classroom, however there were larger challenges presented in the Coffee Shop game and it was more engaging from the standpoint of a player of both games.
In Gabriela Richard’s article, Video Games, Gender, Diversity, and Learning as Cultural Practice, she states that “…this work makes a more distinct argument about play as part of learning through social and cultural practice.” I agree with this statement in regard to the Coffee Shop game because through playing, I have realized that although it is an online game, there is an underlying lesson that is very important for students. The Coffee Shop games does require math knowledge, but more importantly, it teaches the player about making a profit while still running a successful business. I also think that having the game take place over 14 days is helpful because it makes the player want to slowly achieve a successful business. This lesson is also highlighted in the Good Video Games, the Human Mind, and Good Learning article by J.P. Gee. This article states, “You build your simulations to understand and make sense of things, but also to help you prepare for action in the world.” I agree completely with this statement because even after playing the Coffee Shop game a few times, I already have a deeper understanding of some aspects that effect a business, and how running a successful business is not an easy task.
Gee, J.P. (2007) Good Video Games + Good Learning: Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning, and Literacy. Chapter 4: Good Video Games, the Human Mind, and Good Learning. New York: Peter Lang. pp. 22-44.
Richard, G. (2017). Video Games, Gender, Diversity, and Learning as Cultural Practice. Educational Technology, 57 (2), 36-43.
Link to website: https://www.coolmathgames.com/0-coffee-shop