For this blog post I will begin to research what games have been around for children to help them learn. I will begin by researching into what is currently available for children for at home and at school in regards to educational game material. I will then look into what games have been effective in the past for children and compare and contrast what we have now to what was available then. I will look for games in particular with strong puzzle themes to link with my project idea so that I can implement any affective features within my game design. I will also briefly research into what children want in regards to the subject area so I can take this into account when designing content.
What games are available for children currently?
Children of this age are in KS2 which varies between ages 7 to 11, I thought the best way to find games suited to this age group would be through the BBC website as this was something I was familiar with when growing up and my younger family members still use this in school.
The first game I decided to look into was a Maths game called ‘Bamzooki – Using a calculator’ and involved some bugs who had to make their way through a course without getting squished by a boulder which was making its way down the same course. The only way to avoid getting crushed was by answering the maths questions given to you by using the calculator provided. When playing on this game I found it engaging and the voice used to narrate the game was appealing and can see why children would become engaged when playing. The game used simple mechanics such as gaining points for correctly answering a question, progression by the player being able to complete the course, bonus games which would boost engagement and use of loss aversion during bonus rounds as the players avatar is at threat if they are unable to answer questions correctly.
The name game I looked at was an English game called ‘Big Babies’, The game used interesting animation and video but then the game itself was very plain and wasn’t engaging as all it involved was simply dragging answers into the correct position. When dragging in the answer and it being correct you are congratulated so the player would have a sense of encouragement to continue, when incorrect a weird noise would play and you would be told to try again. Further on in the game you ‘earn’ medals by choosing the correct statement and if you select an incorrect statement you are told you are wrong and you need to try again. There are 6 missions all being repeats of themselves just with different words so quickly I have begun to become bored of the game. When completed, the game finishes with a little outro video which was the same as the one at the start of the game. Overall, I found the game used little to keep the player engaged but displayed the correct information which could have been useful for the individual, If I was going to improve this I would use a diverse range of activities rather than repeat the same one. I would also add more visuals for the player to keep track on how many correct answers they have achieved and how many wrong answers they have gained so that a visual percentage can be seen rather than letting the player win with no consequence to mistakes. I would also use a better audio as I don’t feel the music gets people motivated and is in fact really repetitive which can become annoying after a while, maybe adding a variation of music even if only a select choice so that the user can find something they engage with.