Flipside Review—CourseRank: The Video Game

CourseRank, Stanford’s online course evaluation system, has recently experienced a makeover. In response to dwindling participation, CourseRank creator Marty Schulz, maker of such popular titles as Stanford: The Struggling Duck and Madden Football: Big Game Edition changed CourseRank into CourseRank: The Video Game, complete with achievements, 3D, and a four year campaign.

Among the many features sported by the new CourseRank is a four year single player campaign, with a fifth “Co-Term” year available as downloadable content (DLC). The game also boasts a reputation system which allows users to rack up a high score by sabotaging their friends’ reputations and WiiMote functionality.

The game itself is alright, but reviewing courses and submitting grades gets a little boring. The repetitive nature of the game causes many players to burn out before graduation. The course selection mechanisms are also a bit flawed, allowing students in the “Humanities” classes to level up much faster than those in the “Engineering” classes. Worse, even though each year is divided into three quarters (Yeah, you heard me, three quarters make a year—smart move CourseRank), you can only select courses for the first three weeks of the quarter, which totally destroys the feel of the game. Worst of all, the most exciting parts of the first year are bogged down by lame IHUM tutorial levels which make the game about as interesting as a blade of grass.

Despite its setbacks, CourseRank eventually wins me over. Though it has some serious pacing issues, what draws me back are the new “CourseRank Community” features and its achievements. The achievements function as a CourseRank To Do list, while CourseRank Community lets students see the class schedules, GPAs, and sexual histories of their Facebook friends. Check out the list below for some of my favorite CourseRank accomplishments!

Score for CourseRank: The Video Game—B+

Achievements for CourseRank: The Video Game
The Overachiever—Take more than 20 units in one quarter!
The Loser—Stay logged into CourseRank for over two hours on a Friday night.
The Stalker—Reconstruct the class schedules of at least five friends.
The Asshole—Lower the reputation of 10 different people in less than 5 minutes.
The Slacker—Spend 80% of one of your scheduled classes playing CourseRank: The Video Game
The International Student—Plan to graduate in two years. Or three, with a co-term.
The Asian Tourist—Be Asian and log in to CourseRank for five minutes or less.
The FroSoCo Student—Sign in to CourseRank twice. First from a computer on East Campus, and second from a computer on West Campus.

The Frat Brother—In one quarter, sign up for wine tasting and exactly 12 other units.
The PreMed— Do the Bio 40’s series. Twice.

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