About Gamestar Mechanic

Easiest Hardest Holiday Game

At the end of this lesson students will be able to create levels that are scale in terms of difficulty, and create a game based around a theme.

To understand how to balance the difficulty of a game, students will make levels that are extremely easy and very hard, and then one that is a good balance of challenge and fun. Students will also design these levels around a Holiday theme to practice using sprites that tell a story.

Warm Up

Choose a holiday that your class is excited about celebrating. This could be a traditional holiday like Thanksgiving, or a school holiday like summer vacation. Students can also choose their own holidays.


Bring up the subject of difficulty in a game. What makes a game easy? What makes a game hard? Is an easy or a hard game more fun to play? What kind of games do you like to make? Why?

Bring up the subject of story and theme in a game. What are the ways you can show a story in a Gamestar game?

  • Through the intro and outro messages
  • Through message blocks
  • Through choice of sprites
  • Through the game space and background/music


Give students the challenge of making a three level game that represents a holiday.

  • Level one must be really easy.
  • Level two must be really difficult.
  • Level three must have a clear balance of fun and challenge — not too easy and not too hard.

Hand out one Easiest Hardest Holiday Game Requirements Sheet to each student. As they make their games in Gamestar, they should check off each of the items on this sheet.

Playtest and Iterate

After students have designed their three levels, have them switch seats with a partner to play each other's games. Have the playtesters focus on:

  • Did the first level represent a very easy level? Why?
  • Did the second level represent a very hard level? Why?
  • Did the third level feel balanced in difficulty? Why?
  • What was the theme of this game? How could you tell?

After students have playtested each other's games and given each other feedback, they should iterate on their games, making changes according to the feedback.


When students have a final version, hand each student the Easiest Hardest Holiday Game Questions Sheet. Have them write their answers. (This could also be done for homework).


Hold a mini game jam, having students play each other's games and explain their holiday themes and stories.

How did it go?

Did students understand balancing a game that is not too easy and not too hard? Were students able to incorporate a holiday theme and story into their games?

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