GoGetter, the first smart puzzle I invented was the result of a misunderstanding. I had started playing with the idea of using cats and mice in a board game when one of my colleagues from Smart, asked me why we didn't do a puzzle with pathways. The result was completely different from what she’d had in mind – a nice example of serendipity (one of my favorite words): sometimes, when you are looking for one thing you find something completely different.
GoGetter is also the game that started SmartGames in 2001, although until 2007 is was just marketed under the brandname “GoGetter”. At that time we didn’t know yet, that it would be the first puzzle game of more than 80. It’s currently no longer in production, but you can find an overview of all SmartGames here that are equally good or better.
THE FIRST SMARTGAME
Before I started inventing games, I never puzzled much myself, probably because I found normal puzzles too limited. When I was working on GoGetter, I didn't know about other brain games with multiple challenges like Rush Hour yet. I wanted to make a puzzle that was different every time you played it, a puzzle that had some kind of changing maze. My first prototype even included short bedtime stories. Naïve as I was, I thought that once people had played a few challenges, they would be creative enough to make up more challenges on their own. The first (American) version had only 12 challenges, but the next version was expanded to 24 and the current one has 48 challenges. All are without stories, but luckily kids make up their own. When I was testing the game, I said to a child, ‘Now you have to connect the paths so the cat can go to the mice.’ The child answered, ‘But I don't want to, because then the cat is going to eat the mice.’
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
GoGetter is different from most other SmartGames because the challenges have more than one solution. Kids sometimes find this confusing at the beginning, but a teacher once told me that she liked the game for that exact same reason. Most things you learn in school are either right or wrong, but out in the real world, things are much more complex. One GoGetter solution is not necessarily ‘more right’ than another, only different. By comparing each other’s solutions, children can learn that there are several paths to a destination and that whichever path you take, it’s seldom a straight line.
As I worked on GoGetter, I made 3 versions of the game to demonstrate that the concept could be taken in different directions although I never intended to actually make 3 GoGetter games. But because the first version of GoGetter was developed by another company, many things were different from what I’d expected. They said that they would make a 3D version of the game, so I was quite disappointed when I saw the first sample and I found out that they had just translated my drawings into high relief. Although the effect was quite nice, it had not been applied very logically throughout. For example, the paths on the border of GoGetter - Prince & Dragon were in relief, but the pathways on the tiles were not. I learned from this experience that it is better to stay in control of the complete development of a game.
Luckily, we got it right eventually. Some people still prefer the old version with the relief, but I like the new version much more. In the current version, you can store the puzzle tiles and booklet in a decent way using only 2 instead of 4 parts. And you get 48 challenges instead of 12, for the same price, so players get much more play value for their money.
There are now 4 versions of the game. Each version uses the same principle, but has also something that makes it different:
• Cat & Mouse is the basic version.
• Land & Water has 2 kinds of paths.
• Prince & Dragon has pathways on the border of the game board and a figure on one of its tiles. This makes it much more difficult to avoid connections that are not allowed by the challenge.
• Mummy Mystery, the most recent version, adds secret doors to the maze.
In the past these games were also sold in the USA under the name “MazeWays”. There is also a special version made of this game for Russia, named Колобок-следопыт based on GoGetter cat & mouse.
The 4 different GoGetters are no longer in production. The only version that is currently available is a magnetic travel game named “Magic Forrest”, which is similar to GoGetter Prince & Dragon (except with a different theme). If you are looking for a puzzle game with pathways I recommend Little Red Riding Hood for young children and Temple Connection for older children and adults.
top: Old version of GoGetter from 2000 with relief and an unpractical storage drawer (12 or 24 challenges)
top: New version of GoGetter from 2007 without relief and better storage drawer (48 challenges)
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