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World of Borecraft: The Trouble with Video Games

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Here is an article about problems with computer/video games with purported educational value that I thought was interesting. See what you think.

...Any child of the 1980s and 1990s will remember Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing and Math Blaster Mystery: The Great Brain Robbery, games that promised to make skills acquisition fun. They'll also remember ditching Mavis Beacon for something with guns as soon as their parents' backs were turned. Making games educational is like dumping Velveeta on broccoli...

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i have learned more english from command and conquer than any game my school threw at me

<thread pollution>
p3lb0x: I had sorta hoped you'd learn some English from the books I've thrown at you :(
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I wonder if any game would be able to teach differential equations. I haven't seen any game designed explicitly for teaching that did an even remotely good job. Being a non native English speaker, I've learned a lot of English from computer games and programs, though. Adventures like monkey island, day of the tentacle, Kyrandia, early games like Kings Quest etc. were great. Oh, and my knowledge about traffic rules from Carmageddon :-*

learning English - the same could said for those watching TV/movies (esp. American) or reading comics.. :)

I am a native English speaker, and I've learned tons of words and history and lore (from all sorts of historic civilizations) from games. But these were all games that were made to be fun games, not games that were made to teach.

Games made with the intent to teach something are usually very boring, like the article says. But games made to be fun can have massive amounts of educational information. Just play a Final Fantasy game to learn about all kinds of creatures and gods from many different kinds of mythologies.

I was in a Spelling Bee in elementary school where you had two teammates and each time was given about a minute to discuss the word given and agree on a spelling and write it down. There was one word given that my teammates didn't know how to spell that I learned from the game JAWS on the original NES. The word was "conch" because the conch shells were used as money to buy upgrades for your ship in the game to kill the famous shark.

That's just one very small example of where playing a video game totally unrelated to learning has given me a real-world application of knowledge I picked up from the game.

For me it was really interesting to see as I grew up playing games, then learned about things in school, that the people who make games often know their history very well.

But the point of the article (which I think was well made) is that games meant to be "educational" are usually boring. And games that are made to be fun games can often (but not always) be very educational.


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