There are plenty of card games on the App Store, but Crack Cards, described by its creators as a kind of “backwards solitaire,” has quickly won fans after being featured as a “New & Noteworthy” app. The other thing that makes it unique? Crack Cards wasn’t developed by just anyone. Rather, it’s the creation of the advanced computers class at Thurgood Marshall Middle School.
Ryan Longnecker, an 8th grade teacher at Thurgood Marshall, said he turned to game development after realizing that traditional lessons about PowerPoint and word processing “just couldn’t keep the kids engaged.” So, he started branching out into web design and game creation. “Game design is one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever taught,” he writes. “Trying to keep everyone on the same page is nearly impossible, but the kids LOVE it and you see them light up when they walk in to the computer lab.”
Crack Cards, created as a class-wide effort, is the fruit of those lessons. Mr. Longnecker says that it’s based off of a game he played in his own childhood. The game’s rules are pretty simple. Four cards are dealt out each turn, and if any two cards share a suit, the lower can be removed from the game. This continues until there are no more moves available, and then four more cards can be dealt; the game ends when either there are no more moves or when only the aces are left. But while playing the game is simple, winning is a much more difficult proposition. The game’s description dares players to look past the luck to find the strategy.
For now, the game is single-player (apt, considering its similarity to solitaire) but the app’s description promises future updates with a Versus mode. Perhaps that’s the class’s next project!
The 8th grade advance computers class at Thurgood Marshall Middle School should be proud of their work—Crack Cards looks like a fun twist on the usual solitaire variations, and beyond that, creating an iPhone app is no small feat. I wish my AP Computer Science class in high school had worked on projects this interesting!
Crack Cards is available for $0.99 on the App Store.