Game On!

By my own admission, I am not much of a gamer. Back in the day when I was a kid I would play text based games by Infocom on my 128K Mac … after that, I’ve stayed away from computer games for the most part– small amounts of time here and there, but serious addictions. Sure, I’ve had game consoles, but other than my Wii I haven’t gotten the fever like most of my friends have since way back in the day. We’ve been doing a lot stuff in Second Life, but like we said in ETS Talk 25, SL isn’t a game.

The last couple of weeks I have been into a game though — not a million dollar production, but a simple little Flash game called, Desktop Tower Defense. I was at my sister’s tonight for a picnic and all the guys were talking about it. Let me say it is good. Two things make it perfect in my mind … the first is the simple game play. Those of us raised on the simplicity of the Atari 2600 know that one button is enough. The second thing that makes it really interesting is the social component. They make it really easy to set up a group and play against your friends. Just really smart stuff.

Looks like people are noticing. I came across a nice little post over at Giga Om that nails it. We need to be thinking about games in education, but we cannot ignore the simple options out there. Things don’t have to be over the top to work. Desktop Tower Defense is the proof.

One thought on “Game On!

  1. The first primarily educational game I ever remember playing was a little ditty called “Number Munchers”. It didnt boast stellar graphics or a John Williams soundtrack. It didnt have a captivating story or beautifully written dialogue. There was no multiplayer component the ways games today do, and the only controls you needed to know were the 4 directions and a spacebar. Did you steal any cars? Nope. Blow up any aliens? Nadda. In fact there really wasnt anything even remotely cool about number munchers at all…

    And you’ve never seen so many kids skip recess to crowd around and get a chance to learn math. Read that line again. It was simple. It was competitive. It was fun. And I still remember my prime numbers =)

    To me, EduGaming is all about scratching people where they itch – turning the mundane, boring, or bland into something interesting, interactive, and fun. But fun in the video gaming world means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and that is going to be a big challenge as the field of educational games moves forward.

    I have a hunch that a few years down the road, when EduGaming becomes more prevalent, we’ll be talking about a student’s “gaming style” skin to their learning style. Quick hitting, simple games, mobile games, social games, complex games – I think they will all have their place in an educational toolbox, depending on the type of student and the type of material being covered.

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