Coconut Run

UPDATE: after disappearing from the web for a while, the Coconut Run is back.

If you're a nerd (gamer) and a geek (maker), then Coconut Run might be an appealing way to unwind after some intense Battlestar Galactica chat.

Never mind this is a promo for Johnson Controls, a company that uses coconut fiber in the production of car seats. The Flash-based game will satisfy your urge to tinker without requiring an advanced degree or risking electrocution (again).

Your task: build a cart that can efficiently deliver coconuts to a shedder. The quicker you cover ground and the less product you spill the higher your rating will be.

Your supplies: bars, balls, blocks, shocks, and wheels. The construction process is simple--the objects connect when overlapping. Engineers might snicker at the lack of an engine, but you will have to consider factors such as the weight of your cart and the speed you travel, plus the pros and cons of features such as larger/bouncy tires. The game's 'tips' are helpful when you're getting started and can be turned off once you know the basics.

The course is short but extreme. You'll face several opportunities to turn over, get stuck, or loose cargo. The graphics look sharp and have an appropriate drawing board feel.

If you really like the game, you might be frustrated by the inability to save a design or copy and paste simple elements. (Creating two tires the same size, for instance, takes more concentration than I'd like.) Most vehicles can be recreated in a few minutes, though, and the price is right (free).

Note: you cart's performance could vary depending your computer. Very similar designs performed 10 to 15 seconds slower on a 5-year old PC when compared to a 6-month-old Mac, impacting the efficiency rating. My quickest model turned out to be a cross between a dune buggy and a sports bike. Have fun.

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