Ok by a show of hands how many people reading this in their mid twenties to early thirties remember educational video games in grade school, high school or middle school? I’m 26 nigh on 27 here and I vividly remember as a reward for classroom achievement in grade school we were given time on the classroom PC, or mac. Depending on what classroom we where in. The games we played were classics like Oregon Trail, Where in the (World / USA / Time) is Carmen San Diego, typing tutor, Math Blaster, Logo for programming. it was a hoot.
This leads me to the current status of video games in the classroom and the fear that the mere words invoke. According to a little blurb linked from TechDirt that professors now find themselves confronted with the need to defend educational video games. And that revenue for these titles has been steadily decreasing. No wonder why they are stuck in a mode of thinking and game design gear strictly towards smaller children, Reader Rabbit should not be the apex of game design for your genre, but rather a stepping stone to greater things.
The game modes should be engaging the content diverse and expandable. how do these idea’s sound? In the mold of Oregon trail, Take a wildly popular genre such as medival role playing and introduce a functioning economy and historical storyline. Children of today have been bred on leapfrog and TV, they require more stimulation to provide enjoyable experiences.
Without trying to belabor the point on game design the world needs to wake up and remove the stigma from video games. They are not useless pastimes they can teach, they can educate, and the can develop children’s minds. But they need to be treated as required tools not pariahs. I know that i for one could have used a couple more sessions of typing tutor as i hunt and peck my way through this article, my one true shame, I can not touch type. I could also have used a couple of hours on a spelling game as well this article was being attacked by red squiggles up until a minute ago. Thank you Firefox 2.0.
So take it from someone who spent his formative years on video games, both educational and violent, and who hasn’t come close to committing a truly heinous crime recently. That video games are far from the problem here, I would focus on lax parenting and poor discipline among other things, two things I had non of growing up. By the by i started to learn German from play Wolfenstein 3d, and Hogans Heroes so take what you want from that.