play and letters

Month February 2009

Why strategy games are good educational tools

There’s a reason why my recent posts have all been on the theme of games that simulate government. As I continue to study pedagogy and games that promote learning, a number of things are becoming clear to me. In no… Continue Reading →

Serious game: Budget Hero

My last post surveyed what I called “government games.” It’s a fluid genre from the point of view of game mechanics, though common elements can be identified (many drawn from the broader strategy genre, such as button-based user interfaces and… Continue Reading →

Genre attack: government games

I’ve long maintained that the world would be a better place were I in charge. Appoint me your benevolent dictator, and all mankind shall feel the warm embrace of an iron fist. I promise not to squeeze too hard. Of… Continue Reading →

Genre attack: tower defense

Tower Defense (TD) games appeared in Flash (browser-based) form around 2006. Precursors to the style include Rampart and Defense of the Ancients, neither of which I have played. Flash Element TD was the first web-based entry to make a splash… Continue Reading →

Final thoughts on Second Life

Second Life has gotten a great deal of attention as a potential educational platform over the past several years, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a free virtual world with built-in voice and text chat, it’s highly customizable and… Continue Reading →

MMOK, you’re OK: World of Warcraft

Well, I’ve finally gone and done it. I’ve downloaded the trial version of World of Warcraft. I feel terrible about this, because I know I have a tendency to be obsessive about entertainment (not just games, but books, TV shows… Continue Reading →

Serious game: The Graveyard

Video games deal with death all the time. It serves as something you have to inflict in order to progress, or as a penalty for “doing it wrong.” Got to get to the chopper before it takes off? Headshot that… Continue Reading →

B. F. Skinner, Blizzard’s patron saint

Among the classes I’m taking at the University of Arizona is one titled “Learning Theory for Instructional Design.” I expected this class to do more or less what my literary theory classes did when I was studying English, namely bore… Continue Reading →

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