It’s been a little while since I wrote about games here but it is still a keen interest of mine – particularly those with an educational angle.
A review on Eurogamer.net for 1979 Revolution popped up in my Twitter stream and immediately caught my eye. What we have hear appears to be a thoughtful, nuanced look at the 1979 revolution that overthrew the (U.S. installed) Shah of Iran and replaced him with Ayatollah Khomeini and an Islamic theocracy.
Told from the perspective of a young photographer, the game appears to be influenced by the recent Telltale Games style, with a strong narrative, dialogue choices (with ongoing consequences) and QuickTime events in action sequences. (A little bit like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book if you’re not familiar with TellTale’s work)
Built into the story are opportunities (requirements?) to take photos at specific times that are recreations of actual photos taken of events during the revolution. Players can use these to dip further into the history of the time.
From an educational standpoint, these kinds of games tick a lot of boxes for me. There’s interactivity, there’s a narrative that gives the learner emotional experiences and there is decision making and the opportunity to fail.
Even though I’ve been trying to keep clear of games, I think I might have to take a further look at this.
This post on Gizmodo caught my eye because I noticed the other day that one of our classrooms still has a blackboard / chalkboard that appears to be getting a decent amount of use. At first I just put it down to the conservative nature of some of our older lecturers.
As I read this article though, the arguments made for this older tech (in this case a particular brand of Japanese chalk that has just gone bust) actually made some sense to me.
Projectors do sometimes fail in the middle of a demonstration, solving an equation on a powerpoint slide doesn’t have the same flow and whiteboard markers can run out without you being aware of it before you start.
Even though I feel in my bones that there must be a tech enhanced option, these people – our users/clients – often have deep experience that has led them to do what they do now. We need to leave our assumptions behind and make sure we ask the right questions about current practices before we offer new ones.
(Maybe deep down I knew this when I designed my logo)
Extra Credits is launching into a lengthy discussion about the meaning and importance of choice in games and game design. This first episode explains exactly what choice is and what meaningful choice is and how they are important and unique to games.