Spored

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  • It occurred to me as I wandered through the halls of the Spore offices that a troubled school system could probably do far worse than to devote an entire, say, fourth-grade year to playing Spore. The kids would get a valuable perspective on their universe; they would learn technical skills and exercise their imaginations at the same time; they would learn about the responsibility that comes from creating independent life. And no doubt you would have to drag them out of the classrooms at the end of the day. When I mentioned this to Eno, he immediately chimed in agreement. “I thought the same thing,” he said. “If you really want to reinvent education, look at games. They fold everything in: history, sociology, anthropology, chemistry — you can piggyback everything on it.

    “But my wife made a good point when I was talking about this the other day. She says it’s important for kids to do boring things too. Because if you can find excitement in something boring, then you’re set up for life. Whereas if you constantly need entertainment, you might have a problem, because life is full of things that aren’t entertaining. So I think I’d have three days of Spore and two days of obligatory Latin.” …link…

As a once-and-future teacher, I’ve yet to see any texts that deal with teaching the use of English in the 21stCentury. Nothing on texting, messaging, emails, Warcrack. Have a gander on gamefaqs sometime, and the availability of non-English faqs is slim for all but the biggest games. I had a student in Portugal called Lucas, who was a quiet lad who never asked enough questions, until he became stuck in FFX, and brought in a print out of an faq, and more questions than he’d asked in the previous 7 months.

What have games taught you, apart from improving your hand-eye co-ordination and map-reading skills?

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3 thoughts on “Spored

  1. To be fair, did you really need to look at the FAQs when answering his questions?

    I learned a lot from gaming. I’ve learned that life has a gradual difficulty level, generally culminating in a larger boss that bears no relation to what’s come before. I’ve learned that I lose all my money if I die. And I’ve learned that no one really minds if I barge into their house, stare at them for ten minutes, and then loot the crates near the window.

    Uh. And my hand-eye coordination ain’t too bad.

  2. I didn’t, no, but his questions weren’t just ‘how do I get Auron’s best weapon’, but also ‘what does “take the second left” mean?’

    That larger boss can normally be defeated by either hiding behind a box a lot, or occasionally completing some overly-elaborate set of attacks three times. Three is the magic number, but really everything is 4.

    And I just realised Auron is just Sauron minus the S.

  3. Where’s my blog? 😦 ====>

    When stuck in life, problems can usually be resolved by (a) taking everything out of your pockets and mashing them together until a solution presents itself or (b) hitting everyone in the room until a door opens.

    And cat-hair makes for a good false moustache.

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