Monday, May 21, 2007

Learning Games

The first game I played was in the category of Political and Social Games. It was called the Anti-Bush Video Game. It was designed to teach people about all the bad things that President Bush has done to our country. It is a very one sided argument because it is all about how horrible of a president Bush is. When I first started playing it, I was very skeptical and bored because it was just a lot of nonsense with people talking and it wasn’t much of a game. Then, more characters were introduced and the game actually began. You have to pick a character and make it through different worlds by shooting the rich pigs. Every now and then you have to face a “master” and you have to battle them one on one and if you win then you get a key. Once you get all the keys to Voltron (master of the United States) then you can stop him. During the game, you learn about the federal deficit, land tax, dividend tax, and tax breaks. The creators included characters like Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, Howard Dean, Chris Reeves, and Paris Hilton to make the game more entertaining to play. I ended up dying before I made it to the end of the game. This game is definitely intended for older audiences because it has a lot of swearing and vulgarity in it. If one had a lot of time to sit around and play games like this, then I can see how they would be entertained by it but I just thought it was kind of dumb.
The second game I played was in the Health and Wellness category. It was called Feed the Monster and was definitely intended for kids in elementary school who were first learning about the food groups. To play the game, you have to grab food and slingshot it into the monster’s mouth. The food moves on a conveyor belt and the monster moves back and forth. There are lots of different foods including bread, yogurt, peas, watermelon, peanuts, chips, etc. The foods all represent different food groups and the goal of the game is to feed the monster one food from each group. When you have done that, then you move on to the next level. As you move up in the levels, the conveyor belt moves faster so it is harder to get the food. The monster also moves faster so you have to be able to aim so that the food hits him. There is also a time limit which gives motivation for thinking quickly. After you give the monster the food, there is a bonus question which teaches you something about the food. Sometimes it asked how the food was grown and sometimes it asked what could the food be eaten with for a healthy lunch. This game is good because it is entertaining and it teaches you about which foods fit in each group. It also teaches kids what healthy eating is.
The third game I played was in the Educational category and was called Mapojib Experience. It was a way to learn the Korean language. In the game, you watch as two people interact over food and speak in Korean. The game gives you the ability to listen to the words as they are said, see them written in Korean, and also see what they mean in English. This isn’t so much a game as a simulation that you watch and click “next.” Overall, it was pretty boring even though I did learn some Korean words.
It was hard to find games to play because most of the links either didn’t work or took me to a site where I had to register or buy the games so it was kind of frustrating trying to find three to play. My favorite game I played though was the feed the monster one because it was easy and actually seemed like a game whereas the other ones included a lot of just reading. The monster one was also fun because it was very elementary but had cute music, sounds, and pictures. I think that if someone is going to make a learning game, they should structure it like this one where it is very interactive and fun for whomever is playing.

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