It’s about road safety and it’s still set in a fantasy world! These MMO designers. Tsk! Code Of Everand was actually down when I clicked through to have a look, but apparently the idea behind this free MMO is teach road safety skills to nippers. It’s a metaphor, you see: “Deadly ‘spirit channels’ inhabited by roaming monsters criss-cross the land. Players are ‘pathfinders’, heroic adventurers trained to cross the spirit channels safely.” The UK’s Department For Transport worked with augmented-reality games dev specialists Area/Code, (responsible for the Discovery Channel’s Sharkrunners and Drop7 on me iPhone), to create the game. It’s probably worth noting to the rest of the world that the UK drives on the wrong side of the road, so what this MMO teaches foreign children could potentially result in comedy cartoon flattened-by-steamroller mishaps. It won’t be as good as being taught how to cross the road by the man who was inside Darth Vader, anyway. (See below.)
Read the rest of this entry »
Posts Tagged ‘edutainment’
Zoological mishaps are becoming a perhaps unexpected theme in recent gaming, what with IGN’s announcement of Squids not being animals and all. It continues with Brett Graham’s Fruit Mystery. Brought to our attention by Jonathan “Braid” Blow over at Qt3, it’s a high-drama flashgame about trying to feed various animals fruit. It’s highly educational. “I’m not entirely sure what just happened to me,” said Alec after I forced him to play it, “but I’m never feeding animals fruit again”. Truth.
In associated news: Squids are one of the four fundamental forces of the universe, alongside the Weak Force, the Strong Force and Gravity.
Edutainment seems to have reached a new plateau of electronical achievement when Minnesota Zoo announce they are releasing an online wolf simulator. Wolfquest allows y’all to pretend to be wolves, either online or offline, learning realistic wolf behaviour like catching sick elk and howling.
Is this really what we want from our videogames? The slightly scary child featured in the video has clearly reverted to a feral state, like a keyboard-bound Mowgli… I jest of course: there aren’t enough wild-animal simulators, and I look forward to the day we can all play a bumblebee MMO.
This depicts the wolf urination menu.
Project Director Grant Spickelmeir says of the idea that games have truncated kids’ outdoor play activities:
As a former video game junkie (I can’t say current because having two kids under the age of five severely limits my playing time) and an environmental educator – I do believe you can have the best of both worlds. I believe you can use video game technology to create amazing worlds and experiences that can help players understand and interact with the real world in new ways. This is what we are hoping to accomplish with WolfQuest. If all players do when they finish the game is say “that was fun” and move on with their everyday lives – I won’t feel like we have succeeded. We want players to experience the world of the wolf in such a compelling way that they will be intrigued to learn more.
But don’t try running with a wolfpack in real life, kids. It’ll only end in tears/viscera.
WolfQuest will be available for purchase in December ’07.