Regarding Everything Bad is Good for You, I think the author is correct. I think my son's education has been greatly enhanced by the computer games and simulations that he has been exposed to since being a young child. A much richer educational experience than I had growing up, for sure.
My son and I visited a few of the games this weekend on the The Free Multiplayer Online Games
site. The first one I looked at reminded me of the global use of some of these games. Air Attack, a flight simulator game, was only in the Korean language and we had to download a data file to convert it to English. This game included a forum for participant communication. Apparently many games have these forums for getting feedback about the quality, strategies, etc. of the games. As most of you probably know, simulations have become an extremely important and necessary instructional tools for learning skills whereby making mistakes can cause injury, death, and other catastrophes.
Get Tiffany was another game I looked at. Its the one about the four "dudes" trying to pick up a hot "chick" named Tiffany. This game uses Shockwave and you can make certain selections about how the guys look (hair color, eye color, clothing, shoes, etc) but they all had the same angry face! Maybe they could never get the girl! The mojo point cards were clever. This game only offered two choices for installation, AOL and Linux. Not sure why.
We played around with Sims2 as well. That is a pretty interesting game. I like the way you can create your environment and select moods, attitudes, etc.
We also looked at one of the recent Mario Brothers games. My son has been playing this game for years, so they must be doing a good job enhancing the game and creating more challenging levels to keep the kids interested over such a long time period.
We talked a little about Role Playing Games (RPG's) and tried to load the TerraWorld Online but we weren't successful.
With constantly advancing technology, there seems no end to the opportunities for online learning through games.