This is where an analysis of the different types of games will be.
QUEST: ACTION GAMES 1
These two games took me back to my youth… My favorite local pizza/video games joint. The sounds, smells, smoke, exhilaration… All came back!
It was fun playing Asteroids and destroying huge rocks. The game was not going anywhere- larger and more numerous rocks, more shooting spaceships, etc. But the interface stayed the same. It’s fun for a few minutes, but after a while it gets boring. The one thing that I believe would keep players going is the high score. In terms of strategy, there was definitely one. It is not the main aim of the game, but it does help achieving more. Destroying the entire asteroid rather than shooting all of the existing asteroids helps the player manage the game better, and have a less cluttered screen.
I could not stop myself and explored the other ancient arcade games. I found two of my favorites- Dungeon Dragon and Bubble Bobble. These two games are similar, in the sense that there are some “stages” (whether obvious or not), that progress in level of difficulty as the player succeeds. It does make a difference when the screen/background changes, as it feels like somewhat of a “new” experience.
When I began watching the video I thought “WHAT????”, but soon realized that Interactive Fiction type games are very interesting and their application in the classroom can be quite unique by taking students to a new world of games, removing them from the idea that games are about getting stuff and surviving as long as possible to a truly interactive and more cerebral way.
I played Zork 1 for about 20 minutes. The adventure began by telling me that I was near a house with all windows and doors boarded. It took me a while to understand what I need to do, and eventually found a leaflet in a mailbox and a nest with a jeweled egg, which I picked up. I then stumbled across the different paths until I arrived at a canyon. I climbed down, moved around, and at some point was unable to go back the way I came. If I had more time I would have re-read the path I took, and tried something else.
Initially it seemed that the computer did not understand half of the words I used. It took a while for me to realize that I need to keep my language to the basics and to use actions and directions so that it understands what I want to do. While “questing” I was forced to use my imagination and my spatial awareness skills. The descriptions were good, but I think they could have been more poetic. I liked that they gave the machine some sense of humor, which was good when I was feeling at a loss.
I am excited to find out what new games have to offer, and the application of their potential in educational settings.
QUEST: NARRATIVE 2
I played the Peasant’s Quest. It was fun in the beginning and after a few tried (and getting killed twice…) I managed to find pebbles and talk to the archer man. Other than that I walked around and tried different things aimlessly. There were so many things I wanted to do but couldn’t because I did not key in the correct phrase. For example, I was at the well and wanted to get the bucket to the bottom but did not know how to say it. I tried several things but it didn’t work. After spending about an 45 minutes on the game I decided to give up and looked at the Walkthroughs (http://www.hrwiki.org/wiki/Peasant%27s_Quest_Walkthrough). I was irritated that I tried to do some of what I was supposed to, but didn’t do it right. I decided to not try it again.
I guess that the language used is one of the limitations of the game. I know the game is from decades ago, but still it is frustrating. With computers nowadays being able to communicate much better, I have no doubt there are much more sophisticated games. I look forward to trying some of them.
QUEST: NARRATIVE 3
I played Zelda for about… an hour… It was fun. Back to the olden days… I like simple quest games with fighting. It is also interesting to see how the Narrative quests get more “complicated”- from the typing game Zork and the adventure while the typing Peasant’s Quest have been slowly progressing in their complexity, and to be frank, are getting less and less irritating. I like trying out things, but word games are not my strength…This action-adventure game was much more fun. I liked trying out different avenues until I found my father (?!) who game me a sword to go and help Zelda (my sister- ?!). I proudly rescued her and took her with me to be repeatedly stung by snakes and chewed by rats. After an hour I decided it’s time to move on with my life… The joy of killing things makes the game more interesting and thus kept me playing life after life. Short term and long term rewards work!
QUEST: MODERN NARRATIVE GAMES
Modern narrative games are the most advanced among the 4 levels I reviewed. It includes more realistic elements, such as graphics (i.e., images) and plot/story line.
To me, what sets this type of games apart from other narrative games is the exciting learning opportunities they can offer. For example, I played one of the “39 Clues” book interactive games. Although it was not as advanced or attractive as other games form the same genre, I did manage to learn quite a few facts about the Titanic- what exactly happened on the ship, some of the passengers’ perspectives, pieces of news, artifacts found, and more.
In this genre, learning can be much more exciting than simply reading articles, or even watching documentaries. The player’s interaction and ability to choose and explore makes it much more meaningful, and the setting and plot (finding clues to mysteries) definitely has an appeal.
Another feature I thought was interesting (and helpful…) was the active community the game has. The community seemed to be discussing the game and offering clues and explanations, as well as discussing elements of the actual Titanic event.
QUEST: SIMULATIONS 1
I played Sim City for a few minutes until I realized my residents have no way to earn income… I created a cool city with roads and forests, police and fire departments, and even a stadium! I am not sure what I need in order to produce income, but obviously the game does not allow for the citizens’ creativity… The game did not attract my attention too much, so I decided to not re-build a city, because although I never played the game before, I understand the idea of a simulation game, as well as the potential in education.
I can see how this game can be used in educational settings. Units about commerce, business, city planning, sustainability, etc. are a natural connection. Here are some ideas for discussions before or after playing the game:
- Discuss what it takes to build a sustainable community
- Discuss reasons why crime rates increase and what could be done about it
- Discuss people’s needs vs. wants
- Discuss students’ choices of placing different structures
It would be great to play newer simulation games, which allow for more interaction between players, or to have a higher level interaction with the computer.
QUEST: OTHER GAMES
Card and board games are games many kids and adults enjoy playing to pass time and enjoy family interactions. Digitalizing these games has hidden content specific educational value, which can be utilized in the classroom. Playing Poker, for example, has the potential to become simple games that work on, or reinforce, skills that have to do with memory, matching objects, or practicing operations (addition, subtraction, etc.) Another example would be the game Chinese Checkers, which has the potential to become competitive/conquering games where opponents get to make a move if they get a unit-based question correctly.
These games seem simple to create but have great potential due to their simplicity.