Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Plural Girls

This is actually going in the list of bad games that could be better. It?s called "The Plural Girls"

I chose to pick a random educational game rather than a good educational game. It suffers from the many failures most educational games do: it fails to be a game but is called one.

You can?t throw cartoon characters or a color changed and horizonally fliped one over some circles and call it a game. The objective in the game is to rescue some people from bubbles. Okay, its a simple enough game about plurality, we don?t need a plot or anything. Mario?s was just about saving the princess, not much of a plot, Qbert just needed to get to the top of a pyramid, why? Who cares! But it was fun. Educational games can be fun to, you just need to try a little harder. I know I shouldn?t say it but what about some animated Technologies such as flash? You could get a much better experience.

Heres where I?m going to start my rant. Games are not forms. Games are not forms. Games are not forms. Games are not multiple choice questions. They are supposed to be fun. There are fifty ways you could take a concept such as teaching pronouns and go somewhere fun with it.

There are different levels of difficulty which is useful in a educational perspective you can chose between multiple choice, difficult multiple choice, fill in the blank, and tough fill in the blank.

What I really think the issue is that companies or institutions want to create some games in large quantities with little attention to quality.

What this game could use is some loving attention to story, pacing, and a purpose. You could add suspense and a sense of urgency by adding a timer, not just a timer but a timer linked to something happening. Add some cheering, some audio. Children that don?t know plurality don?t know how these things sound. As a child would you pronounce cacti, the plural of cactus as cack-tee or cack-tie. You?re educating them where you could just because it doesn?t fit into the narrow objectives you?ve set. It is easy to play an audio file after they answer.

In my opinion educational experiences should also be linked together in a cohesive manner either through a world or a story. Rarely are you educating someone on a singular topic but a series of related topics. You need to immerse the student in a fun educational experience for it to hold and give them the motivation to continue playing. The Plural Girls game could be part of a larger story that children could progress through (or they could start with that one) but that also would give children an incentive to continue playing through curiosity.

Motivation and imersion is everything; the same is the case with casual games, the only difference is you must immerse them quicker and faster. You don?t need a story, but you need to start them having fun right away. You can and should use as many tools as possible to immerse them, animation, music, gameplay, story, anything. But do it quickly, and don?t be lazy. Because if you don?t do a good job noone will play it. So its worthless.

Don?t give them a form. A form is not a game.




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