Time Tables

This weeks and Next Weeks Time Tables, I’ve condensed the Time slots to one day for Cs, as I find that format works better for time keeping and focus.

Five-day event schedule Week_2

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Educational Games can be Bad

If there is one thing I have learned this morning, it’s that Educational games can be truly awful. The shapes game on this educational games site is my example:

http://www.education.com/games/airplane-tangram/

Plane

This Shapes game was the most annoying game to try and play, was it even a game?

I Can see where they tried to go with this, The visuals could possibly be influenced by some of the Zany cartoons that you get on cartoon network and fox kids, such as dexter’s lab and cow and chicken. The visuals also remind you a little of the little characters you get on the side lines of the Kingsoft games like candy crush and farm heroes.

The Game play itself is the real bug bear here though, its structural framework is about matching shapes to holes and this would be fine if it wasn’t for the actual mechanics being badly implemented and in some cases not at all.

Not only was game constantly reminding you what to do in a very over the top almost condescending voice ( kids don’t want to be treated like fools ), but the game wouldn’t even complete and give any reward incentive to even make it feel like a game in the first place. I wouldn’t say that any rules and conditions cause conflict in this at all, and there is no competitive modes, unless I guess you timed yourself against someone else. That in itself could make this game more enjoyable, high scores for time completed and would help with cognitive developement.

It’s really just about moving blocks into the right shaped holes, and even when you get everything right it doesn’t do anything, not even a well done or a fan fare, in fact it still keeps repeating where to put the shapes as if you’ve not put them in the right place, which could in actual fact be confusing for young children.

For a game that was manufactured within the last year and although it is a free educational game, I would rate it below average as a game and a teaching tool. It’s obviously aimed at a very young Audience but that does not excuse sloppy design flaws.

I can’t help but feel kids would get more out of playing Tetris.

1tetris_nintendo1

For the Commercial game I chose a game that has been around for decades, Tetris. Mainly because the game relates very much to the cognitive abilities that the first game was trying to teach.

Designed in soviet Russia way back in 1984 by Alexi Pajitnov, the game takes it’s name from the greek word tetra crossed with the word tennis. It is a Tile matching puzzle game that has the player moving and rotating blocks of different colours to match and erase them getting points, this is a game that continues to get progressively harder but he learning curve is such that even young minds can pick it up easily.

There is both a drive for competition in this game and a sense of conflict.

The competitiveness of this game relies on the high score and the lasting the longest, this is created by the way the players utilise the blocks wisely and the way the player can then stop the blocks from filling up the screen before the end of the level.

The Conflict is also caused by the very same blocks, a conflict against the time in which it takes to place the blocks and the time in which they begin to fill up the screen. You are in a constant state of conflict with the game due to this.

The Game’s obvious feed back is the High scores, and the reward of making it to the next level.

Structurally the game is sound, it flows well is challenging, rewarding and is well made. Not only that but it has stood the test of time as one of the number one puzzle games. This could easily be used to teach the same skills as the game above, but would engage the audience much better.

Heck, I’d even prefer Candy Crush, and I dislike that game with a passion…

candy-crush-saga-06-621x535

So in Conclusion I am convinced that Tetris and many of it’s copies would be far more suitable for teaching what the shapes game fails at.

Research into Educational Games

The origins of Game based Learning seem to go back through the ages, knights using chess to learn strategies and tactics, children play fighting to learn survival traits.

After watching some of the videos from CS and searching for information online the concept can be summed up thus:

“game-based learning is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain, and apply said subject matter to the real world.”

Friedrich Schiller in his classical essay, “Upon the Aesthetic Education of Man”, discusses play as a force of civilization, which helps humans rise above their instincts and become members of enlightened communities.

In it He states that:

“humans are only fully human when they play.”

This then sets the stage for Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens. – ( do Further Research )

> Also look up Fredrich Fóbel and his Fóbel gifts.

> Also research  Richard N. Van Eck and his Theory.

> Look up Edutainment and the use of some mainstream games.

BA6 Task 1

It feels like it has been far too long since I last typed on in this journal, I need to timetable more spaces for CS.

But I digress, The first task in hand over the Easter Break is to Research and Play two games, one Educational the other non educational answering the questions within the framework given. It is better explained below, as Sharon posted.

TASK

• Research the first of the three areas of study: Educational Games

• Play an educational game and a commercial game that is used in education

• Analyse their properties using the frameworks that we have established

• Produce a short (500 word) written comparison with two images, for the first session after the break.

visual framework

• What does the game look like?

• What are the possible visual influences?

• Does the game offer intertextual references?

structural framework

• how do the rules and conditions of the game create conflict?

• are players struggling against each other or the game or both?

• what are the interactive experiences provided for players in the game?

• what feedback does the game offer?

critical framework

• consider the game in terms of context:

• origin • year of manufacture

• company (do they have a ‘house style’)?

• target audience

Make a comparison

• What strategies do the games use to persuade the player?

• How do they gain and retain an audience? (Who is that audience?)

• How do they achieve or fail to achieve their goals?

I’m still trying to figure out what games to Playtest, should I pick two that have similar frameworks, such as sim city and it’s educational equivelant? Or two completely different games. All games can offer some form of quest based learning right?