Different Types of Games

I am about to embark on a quest to learn about different types of video games.  The four quests will include narrative games, action games, simulation games, and other categories.  Stay tuned because as I play through these quests, I will add my thoughts and ideas about each type of game I play.

Narrative Games

Zork 1: The Great Underground Empire

Written between 1977-1979, Zork was one of the earliest fiction computer games created according to Wikipedia.  Just by looking at the game, one would have no idea where it takes place or what the game is about.  I only found out the plot and setting of the game by reading about it on Wikipedia.  All you see when you play is a black screen and words telling you what you see and what is taking place in the game. Everything is pretty much left up to the imagination.  The player then inputs commands in order to move along in the game such as “go east” or “turn lantern off”.  I also learned only through additional reading that the objective is to collect the Twenty Treasures of Zork and install them in the trophy case.

While playing Zork, I had to remember that for its time, this was probably a pretty fun and inventive game to play.  Players probably enjoyed the trial and error aspect.  They probably also weren’t looking for a lot of flash or graphics or even sound like one would find in the video games of today.  Even with its lack of detail, Zork provides a lot of mystery and intrigue for the player. It also provides humor especially when you try to open boarded doors and windows and tell it to eat garlic!

I played the game for close to half an hour.  I made it into the house, picked up a sword and lantern, ate some food, had some water, and then couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I tried all directions, but couldn’t get any real information, so I gave up and quit the game.  There were cheats online that I looked at later that made the game a lot more fun, but I only made it through because of the cheats.  This type of game would be a lot more fun if you could actually see something on the screen rather than picture it all in your head.  Maybe that is why the fictional games of today also include graphics so that the player can envision themselves in their role.  It might take away from the mystery and imagination involved in the game, but it makes it somewhat easier to maneuver through it.

I had trouble getting many of the versions of Zork 1 online to work, but here is a link to the one I played.  In addition, here is the site that helped me find my way out of the house. Continue reading

Gamifying Education

After viewing the video “Brain Training” Video Games and Tangential Learning  by Daniel Floyd, there are a few key points that I learned about Gamifying Education.  There is a big divide between educational games and fun games.  The main goal of educational games is to teach you something.  At times these games may not be very fun to the user and are seen as a chore.  Fun games are just that, fun, but do not expand the horizons of the gamer.  By combining the two we can enable learning because the user is engaged in what he or she is doing and is interested in the topic. When a learner is enthusiastic and engaged in what they are doing, the learning becomes easier.

 

In the video Floyd talks about the concept of Tangential Learning.  Floyd states that Tangential Learning is “not what you learn by being taught, rather it’s what you learn by being exposed to things in a context in which you are already engaged in.” If you introduce someone to a topic within a game  that they are already excited and engaged in, it may provoke that person to educate themselves more on that topic or a facet of the topic.

 

The whole point of gamifying education is enhancing the educational experience for the users without making them feel like they are being beaten over the head with the subject matter.  It is important to remember as game developers that we are provided with a wonderful opportunity to not only engage users, but also expand their horizons and learning experiences.