Even Connect 4 has Feature Enhancements

The basic game of Connect 4 (hopefully I don’t need to explain the concept) has had the opportunity to release feature enhancements. When I was a young lad, I assumed Connect 4 was Connect 4, and there was no improving on the game itself, but maybe improvements on the construction and durability of the great wall of slots. I found out this weekend that I was wrong.

connect-4

When Connect 4 Satisfies the QA Analyst

I recently wrote about When Wrapping Satisfies the QA Analyst, but I’m discovering more and more activities that satisfy my daily analytical need for perfection. While playing the basic game against my five year old daughter, I got bored of winning, or rather, she got bored in general, so we began making cool designs. With every drop of a coin into a slot, I was either happy or bothered by the placement of said coin. Most were fine, I was able to simply drop the same color coin into the mirrored y-axis position, or I was required to remove the coin by sliding it up, holding with one finger, sliding it up, holding again with the other finger, and repeating until the coin was out. This led to some pretty creative designs by my daughter and me, some of which were entirely Picasso in nature. Those were the ones my daughter preferred.

Here’s the final picture of our work, the one she was most proud of designing.

C4 design

How Connect 4 Released a Feature Enhancement

Now back to the point of what I wanted to say. I was playing this basic game, when I looked at the box and saw that there were actually three ways to play our Connect 4 game. All these years I’ve only ever known the basic traditional game, yet somehow Milton Bradley was able to come up with additional versions of the game and apply them to the same basic board. Now I can play Original, PopOut, and Pop 10.

C4 3 ways

This is great strategy and one that we can practice in software development. Sometimes the additional workflow or enhancement to our products is only a few hours away, yet can provide a ton of enhanced functionality towards our software. This type of innovative work should be practiced and rewarded, as it opens up doors to new possibilities with such a low cost to the company.

 

But Wait, There’s More…

My Connect 4 mindset was truly flipped upside down when I was at a party on Sunday for my nephew, and they also had Connect 4. It was the same version that I had, same box design, everything, only their version had FIVE ways to play. Milton Bradley had done it again, spent very few innovative hours and released a ton of new product functionality. In addition to the Original, and the PopOut and Pop 10, I can now play Power Up and 5-in-a-Row. There was a small addition to the construction of the great wall, and bam, two additional games.

Connect 4 Five Ways to Play

With this type of innovation, it not only brings back a classic game from the 70’s, but also keeps it current and fun. When we apply this same style of enhancements to software, it keeps them current and up to date, as well as fun to come back to. These are basic rules to consider when discussing large updates or small enhancements, while weighing the cost value and user increase it could provide.

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