Games and Learning

On the face of it the video games Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer and Sunset Overdrive don't appear to have a lot in common. But in one respect they are quite similar. Both make complex demands of their players. Games now have to deal with the fact that rich, complicated gameplay makes it necessary for the player to know stuff.

When I played Sunset Overdrive a while back I was impressed with the design of the tutorial levels and the lengths that the game went to as it made sure you new what all the weapons did and how and where to use them. There was also a well managed introduction to the overall plot and the characters. Playing Happy Home Designer (a fun little title as it turns out) I had a very similar experience. As a player you have to learn how to work in the various design scenarios and this is very well introduced into the narrative.The game even has a cash based system that you can use to learn more things in order to unlock new abilities.

People have been going on about game based learning for years. It's interesting to see that the game makers are getting good at putting the learning into their games too.