Makey Makey Whack-a-Potato 

International Games Day was a success yet again this year thanks to our Makey Makey and a sack of potatoes. Yes, you read that correctly. I said potatoes. If you are not familiar with what a Makey Makey is, check out this Ted Talk. Or this video.

Back in September of this year, I attended a Tech Day workshop at the Fond du Lac Public Library at which I got to see this Makey Makey Potato Whack-a-Mole game in action. It was so much fun–even for us adults!

Our library already owns a Makey Makey, so it was just a matter of finding the game download (shortcut to it here). The great thing about this game is that it is open-source, so you can look at the source code and make changes if you so desire. If you’d rather “Whack-a-Librarian,” you could totally swap out the moles with an image of one or more of your library’s librarians. How fun would that be!?

What you need:

  1. 4 potatoes; one red and 3 of whatever other type of potato you want (Russet, Yukon Gold, Fingerling, whatever you’ve got…just make sure they look different from your singular red potato)
  2. Makey Makey, complete with alligator clips and jumper wires
  3. (Metal) Paper clips (4)
  4. Computer with HDMI port (optional)
  5. HDMI cable (optional)
  6. Software (shortcut above)

How it works, in a nutshell (for a more detailed description complete with pictures, head over to Bluntbody):

Stick all 4 potatoes in the side with the paper clips.  Using the alligator clips your Makey Makey came with, clip one side to the paper clips that are now sticking out of your potatoes. Take the alligator clip that is now attached to your red potato and clip the other side to the Earth port on your Makey Makey (doesn’t matter which one). With the other three potatoes, clip the free side of the alligator clips to the A, S, and D ports on the Makey Makey — this can be done using the jumper wires. Stick one straight end of exposed wire on the jumper wire into each A, S, and D ports and then connect the other straight end to the corresponding alligator clip (the ones connected to the potatoes). Connect the USB cord from Makey Makey to your computer/laptop and, if mirroring onto a bigger TV screen, connect your HDMI cords and flip to the proper TV input. Now you just need the run the program, WhackAPotato.exe.

Pretty Cool! Hope you have as much fun as we did!



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