Games You Can’t Lose

Recently I’ve been having a lot of fun playing around with other people’s code.

I’ve been forking games on Github to learn a little about how they work. I then change them so that they are impossible to lose. They turn out to be very short and completely useless beyond a couple laughs. Messing around with the code is almost more fun than the end result.

This started when a coworker was telling me that he had never won a video game. A few of us started coming up with ideas for games where it was impossible to lose. They seemed pretty funny, so I decided to play around with the idea a little bit.

I’ve only done a couple games so far. I’ve had some challenges along the way:

  • Most of these projects are stale and need a little work to get them working again. I spent a lot of time importing Eclipse projects into Android studio and working out the details
  • I had to pull apart a lot of conveniences: game options, number of lives, difficulty settings

I’m impressed how entertaining they are to put them together when I have no regards for playing it safe. Every hack is on the table as a possibility. I only have to worry about one thing – never lose.

“Tetris Can’t Lose”

I named this game after the old tv show “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose”

This was my first attempt at changing a game. It had a couple of surprises:

  • Tetris isn’t designed to win! You keep playing until you lose. So I had to come up with a way to win the game, and add it as an option in the game play.
  • I decided to add a funny “TaDa!” sound, so I had to add MediaPlayer and SoundPool. This change has become my exclamation point, and has made it into the other games as well.
  • I had to clean up some code, create a new launch icon, etc

One thing I regret is that I didn’t fork the repo correctly. I ended up losing some history that I wanted to show in Github. It’s not a big deal, but I wanted to make sure whoever ran into the project knew that I based it off someone else’s work. I ended up adding a note to the project’s readme.

You can view the code here:

“Can’t lose Breakout”

I ran across this breakout game on Github. It had all the parts that I was looking for, and as a bonus it included lots of documentation. It was a sample game that explained a lot about how to write a game for Android.

  • It was rather stale, so it took a bit to import it into Android Studio and get it to work
  • It had a lot of game options I had to remove or change for my needs
  • I had to play around with the settings to get the most humor out of it

This one was different in that you don’t win immediately like in the Tetris game. You can move the paddle around and try to make the process faster, but it doesn’t matter.

Keeping the game play intact was a good idea – it makes the game a little more fun. The ball can’t fit past the paddle, but it looks like it could. It’s amazing to see people’s first reaction when they play. They have an initial sense of urgency to save the ball even though it’s impossible for it to fit past the paddle.

You can view the code here:

Rabbit Hutch

Rabbit Hutch

I repurposed an old shelf into a 2-level indoor rabbit hutch

This post is meant to expand more on some details of the build, some things I forgot, and some improvements I made since the original build.

You can view the original album here:


I added wheels to make it really easy to move. There are 5 total – 1 for each corner and 1 in the center. I’ve done this with other heavier furniture in our house too.

The doors

I made the doors by making 3 levels:

  1. 1×2 inch pine boards, arranged in a rectangle
  2. Add wire mesh
  3. 1×2 inch pine boards, arranged in a rectangle going in the opposite direction

Here is a little drawing showing the steps coming together:

The ramp

I originally made the steps of the ramp using a small dowel rod. Unfortunately the rabbit broke (or ate) them. I later switched to 1/2 inch strips of wood that are much better.

A hay bin

A good way to encourage your rabbit to use their litter box is to provide some hay near it. Rabbits love to sit and nibble on hay while using the facilities.

The hay has lots of small pieces that fall through most of the hay holders sold in stores. So I made one that provides a small shelf to hold the small pieces.

Extra water

I try to encourage our rabbit to drink out of a bowl. Since this thing is in my living room it’s a lot quieter if he avoids the noisy water container. However, the container is a great backup which gives him multiple options for water.

On Finishing

This was a fun project to build. I had to be rather secretive about it, so after bedtime I was heading out to my freezing garage to work into the night. I had some setbacks, but was able to overcome them and learn something in the process.

Most of all, I don’t have to go outside to feed the rabbit. He’s often watching us eat dinner or watch TV. It’s not something my kids can forget about in the backyard.