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Gaming for good

DZone's Guide to

Gaming for good

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As I’ve grown older I’ve played video games less and less, but get my fix via sites like PlayerX when I want a bit of gaming fun. I am nonetheless excited by the growing number of games that seek to dogood things for society.

For instance, there are a rapidly increasing number of games that offer players the chance to contribute to scientific projects.  Eyewire for instance looks at brain science, whilst Phylo explores genetic research.

They’re pretty cool and all, but the bulk of this movement still aims at providing games that give an educational benefit as well as an entertainment benefit.

For instance,PaGamO was recently honored at the Reimagine Education Conference for providing such an effective platform for supporting the learning process.

Elegy for a Dead World

Another neat example isElegy for a Dead World, which aims to help players develop their creative writing skills as they navigate their way through the game.

The game environment consists of three destroyed civilizations, each of which is based upon a Romantic-era poem.  Players are placed in the shoes of a soul survivor of an exploration to the world housing each civilization.

Their job is to travel around each world and describe what they find to be shared with the rest of the universe (which can include other players).

As the players navigate the worlds inspired by the likes of Keats, Byron and Shelley, they encounter a number of writing challenges whereby they must compose stories, songs and poems based upon various characters from the game.

The game itself is fairly straightforward but it’s very nicely put together in such a way as to stoke the imagination.

Arguably the biggest benefit of the game is in terms of mindset.  Getting children engaged with classical literature can often be a challenge, especially as the language can be hard to wrap ones head around.

Research has shown that games can be incredibly powerful in altering our mindset towards one of learning.

“Educational games may be able to help circumvent major problems plaguing classrooms by placing students in a frame of mind that is conducive to learning rather than worrying about how smart they look,” adds co-lead author Paul O’Keefe, an NYU postdoctoral fellow at the time of the study and now at Stanford University’s Department of Psychology.

You can find out more about Elegy for a Dead World via the video below.

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