As a part of my never ending and incredibly infrequent series of addictive time-wasting games, I offer up Sound Factory. While I can’t take credit for discovering this time-suck of a game, all of my 5th grade students can attest to its addictive quality and musical joviality.
I decided to give my 5th graders a week off from work having just finished our search engine activity, so they’re taking the Net Day Speak Up Survey and experiencing the Sound Factory game this week. I found it thanks to a very helpful and creative technology teacher in the Grand rapids area, Kelly Irish. I found the site on her big list of Music Making Sites that she shared, so feel free to peruse.
The beauty of Sound Factory is that it’s a relatively simple music game for beginners, and then ramps its difficulty up considerably so that it doesn’t feel like a walk in the park. I’ve found that many gamers students will often blow through games and activities that don’t provide a challenge. Without the failure and restarting that comes with more difficult games, many of my students are quick to dismiss games. Sound Factory begins with a depressed worker at an auto-tire plant looking to spice up the work place a bit. By over-inflating the tires, and thus causing them to burst in a rhythmic pop, your fellow co-workers become interested and start providing additional rhythm and melodic instruments for you to control. Of course there’s a challenge, and while you’re busy tapping out notes with a spanner and composing short bass beats, you also have to produce 100 tires before the end of the day. Throw in the occasional visit from the boss (who will shut down the entire operation if he catches you playing any of the instruments), and the game quickly becomes a frantic exercise in juggling numerous musical instruments, producing enough suitable tires, and managing to do it all before 5:00 pm.
Give it a try; you should be pleasantly addicted. And if you have to quit, just remember the password for your current level so you can come back and pick up where you left off. If you really have some talent, you can even save your tracks, and e-mail them to a friend. A great time waster that also dabbles a bit in rhythm, but not enough to take itself too seriously.