Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Diary of Flash Games and my Social Impact Game Proposal

The first game I played was 'Presidential Pong', an outdated, semi-informative, glorified version of Pong. Supposedly one learns little tid-bits from the lives of the candidates, but honestly it was a waste of time. Having read the articles about game-informed learning I can say that this was an utter failure if the game designer was actually trying to impart some sort of knowledge about the candidates to the gamer. It would have been much simpler to simply wikipedia or google search these candidates than spend time playing a version of Pong to learn little, hardly useful snippets about their lives.

The next game I played was called 'Food Import Folly'. The idea behind the game was interesting, but honestly all of the learning occurred when I read the synopsis. This makes me think, again, that flash-gaming like this isn't the medium of choice for informing the public. Or, maybe it is, because if one was simply interested in playing a game they might stumble upon this useful information quite by accident. I doubt this is what the designers envisioned, and I can't imagine this type of gaming being utilized by schools for educational purposes.

I next went onto Molleindustria and played 'Faith Fighter'. I felt like once again the disclaimer at the beginning, which said that the purpose of the game was to demonstrate how religious intolerance fuels violence, was the real piece of education. Without that disclaimer, it wouldn't have carried much educational value. I understand the motivation that the game designers have when creating these types of games, but this isn't in any way more useful than reading an article or a book or, in many cases, simply watching the television. The amount of 'education' is so minimal as to almost be pointless, in my opinion.

I read the introduction part of 'Operation: Pedopriest' and it seems simply like general slander. I'm not a proponent of the RCC, or any church for that matter, but for the creator of the game to say that the RCC is attempting to avoid scandal and protect their priests through lies and fabrications is simply wrong; the cardinals and the pope have addressed the issues. In any case, once again, the 'learning' is all done when one reads the synopsis. And, once again, an article on New York Times.com would have been infinitely more informative.

The ideas I did like were straight-forward learning applications, like the one 'The Algebots'. The intro was insanely, ridiculously, painfully dull, dumb, and repetitive. And, it was simply a preview for a game that the company was soliciting. But, still, it was my favorite flash 'game' so far because it actually took a field of education and tried to create a game out of it. The other so called 'instructional' games simply peddled anti-blank sentiment. This one, supposedly, would help a student pass Algebra. If, indeed, the game was usable and well-done, then I don't see why such a platform couldn't work as an instructional tool. However, that's a large assumption, because if the same company that did the introduction to the game manufactures the game itself I can only imagine it will be a horrible failure.

For my Social Impact Game I would make a game that teaches a child to read music. The format would be relatively simply, with digital 'sheet music' of simple pieces like Bach's 'Ode to Joy' from his 9th followed by progressively more complex pieces from other composers. The child would do something like fill in the blanks for where a c-sharp would be placed on the staff, and would eventually learn more complex things like key-signatures and tempo and how to write accidentals. The best part of the game would be, after filling out the required fields, listening to one's version followed by the actual version of the composer. If the two match, the child 'wins'. Of course, the winning would be the actual education of the kid.


1 comment:

Jesal said...

I completely agree to your proposal. I think music is a dying concept among young people and it's a travesty because it really wakens up parts of your brain that would otherwise remain dormant, and it allows you to be creative in a self-expressive way that I think leads towards people being independent thinkers. So much of today's society is based around your conformity to a certain medium, whether it be how to write an essay in the right way or how to dress, act and look in public. Music gives you that sense of freedom that doesn't impose upon other people's freedoms (for the most part). Great idea.