I was asked to make a game for Wellcome’s Wrongness Championships, part of their July Late themed around the science and art of being wrong.
So Wrong It’s Right turns the Stroop Effect into a gameshow-like head to head battle, with an energetic compere, two audience members invited onto the stage, and a pair of disembodied hands showing images from behind a screen.
The classic stroop test is names of colours written in different colours – say the colour the word is, not the word it says. However, there are many ways to play with that idea that allow the audience more leeway for creativity and entertaining failure – after some playtesting we settled on pictures of objects and people paired with random words, which gave a particularly wide spread of timings. Contestants have to say a word which is neither the one on the card, nor the object on the card. Some people are much better at this than others.
The final form of the game met my personal design brief for the project, which was to design something which passers by would be drawn in to watch, and by watching understand and immediately want to play themselves.
Ben Revell was my compere, and he dealt brilliantly with a steady stream of interested players, ranging in age from ten to retirement, filling them in on the battle they would undertake with their own brains, and a little of the history of the Stroop Effect. It was a joyful way to talk about the history of science.