Game Explorer

Not sure about this quest. Seems that I am to set up this post and revisit as no links to these games are here. Looking forward to greater exploration.

Action Games – Asteriods and Galaga took me back in time. I wish I had a even a nickel for every quarter I spent at the arcade back then. Player races against the clock, physics variables and quick responses to finish off the opponent. Compared to games of today, the strategies are predictable as the patterns repeat for the most part. One does not have to think and plan as the player reacts over acting or planning. There is a winning condition; but only to move up a level. High scores are recorded and other statistics like accuracy percentages to entice replays. Communication with a second player occurs outside the game context as the game is played in the 3rd person. No in-game contextual communication is available. To me, it represents a brief escape, where the play is almost pure. I don’t have to think, just react, play, and repeat.

A version of the SHMUPS  would be Think Tank. The goal is to kill the bad guys before they get you. Weapons are primitive in the sense that you don’t have to pick up new ones along the way. You simply shoot before getting shot. This particular variant offers coins to retrieve after the “kill”. Adds to points, though the greater reward is faster time.

Narrative Games 1 – Played Zork and was reminded of times spent playing this game years ago. Not a huge fan as user is often limited in moves. For instance, the computer does not recognize “walk around the house” as a valid instruction. Many times the user is only aware of other moves when he/she returns back to a previous location and is afforded a different view. (Now the window is visible.)

The game is primitive by today’s standard as you type simple commands. However, I like that the player should take notes. I used to draw picture maps when I played the game. It was nice to see that Nick Monfort from the Exploring Interactive Fiction video stated he used maps as well. I  think this would a good skill set for students to master.

Narrative Games 2 – Peasant’s Quest – This game was a bit more advanced than Zork; but, not something I enjoy playing. Utilizing the walk-through was somewhat helpful. However, the player has to ask the right questions and phrase them in the correct way for the computer to process. Spent a great deal of time in un-productive struggle.

Using the walk-through one can advance through the narrative. However, without it, my character was not speaking the language. The game is challenging in the sense that the player must use the exact language. The rewards are not enough to keep me focused and engaged in the game.

Narrative Games 3 – Graphic Adventure – The Legend of Zelda – This was a mild improvement. However, since I do not have a joypad or controller, and instructions are lacking, it is challenging to maneuver using the keyboard alone. The text is interesting; but repeated reminders of the mission without offering any assistance to advance my character was truly frustrating. I think I would like the increased input using the up/down arrows over a completely text-based game. I want more opportunity to work with this game. I looked online for control-help and guidance for play. Most is written for platforms other than OS-X.

Narrative Games 4 – Modern Games – Schema of games increased with new vocabulary. MMORPG is massively multiplayer online role-playing game played by numerous gamers in a virtual world that is often fantasy based. ARG is an alternate reality game using the real-world as the platform. My challenge with MMORPG is my love and passion for the life I currently live. The investment of personal time to gain understanding of role playing was immense and I am still not there. From a teaching POV I can appreciate students and their ability to experience a culture and environment without having to actually visit there. I am aware of the strong interest by those younger so understanding their interests and teaching that includes those interests will certainly draw more students into the educational mix. Studying ARGs adds a new layer to gaming; bringing the players back into the here and now and away from a computer terminal or game controller. I am fascinated by this layer and would like to incorporate this into teaching at some point. I think this would a huge draw and unique exploration of material. The examples of Tron, Halo and PacMan seem to be the tip of the iceberg. History, English and Theatre could all gain from this genre of game/content delivery.

This was a new experience for me. First, I clicked on the wrong link and played a Medieval version of the game. After creating Castle Phoenix, rescuing a lady in distress and plundering the castle of a rude neighbor, I rebooted and found the correct game and explored that as well. Having experimented in both environments added a different layer to this experience. I think it would be valuable in a Literature class to truly help one understand some of the problems of the time period. Of course, Mathematics, History, and Civics are other pertinent content areas that would benefit from the lessons in the sim. The best of this experience is the control the student/player has to explore cause and effect of their actions.

SIMULATION GAMES

Real Time Strategy Games Shopping Street This game is addicting. What started as a twenty-minute exploration became a six-hour marathon. Strategic placement of stores at the outset and during periods of growth influenced overall successes or failures. Strategies needed revision as the goals increased. Applications could vary from high school Literature, History, Mathematics and Science classes exploring Cause and Effect, Marketing, and Business concepts, to a class analysis of Probabilities, Civics and growing a town or variables of successful venture capital opportunities.

Turn-Based Strategy Games – RISK, Acquire – I could not decipher this particular game. The title was not visible and there was not an active link to the game. I played an online version of RISK, which I truly believe is an awesome TBS game. Having to work cooperatively for a fixed period with an opponent is a valid skill to learn. Exploring weaknesses in your plans or discovering your opponents seek a different plan and outcome, is also valid. Another TBS game I would use in a high school Mathematics, Civics, Theatre, or Literature class is Acquire. It is a fun game to learn how stocks and mergers work. The euphoria felt as one conquers the world with either TBS game is visible and useful as a teaching point.

Other Games 1 – Exploring this genre, one was reacquainted with online Poker, Chinese Checkers and Yahtzee. With Poker and Yahtzee one can discuss probabilities of outcomes and strategy of playing certain ways. Online Poker is a bit of a challenge because one cannot gauge the number of cards played. I have not played Chinese Checkers since childhood. It is another game of probabilities, strategies and outcomes. The three of these games could be used to get someone to think laterally. There is no story line to follow and no roles to play. It is simply playing to surpass the opponent whether computer or second player. The mathematics applications seem vast. For other classes, these challenges would be good appetizers to get brains awake and moving.

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About "B" Bernheim
“B”, his nickname, returns to the other side of the desk after many years. Graduating from UNC-Charlotte in 1983 with a BA in Education (K-12), he entered active service with the US Army. He began teaching high school upon completion of his tour of duty. B taught Language Arts and Social Studies for one year at the middle school level. English, Composition, Public Speaking, Theater, Forensics, and Technical Theater are among the subjects he has taught in public high school settings. Most recently, he was a Strategies of Instruction teacher, Assistant Dean of Students, dorm parent, girls’ hockey coach and rock climbing instructor at The Forman School in Litchfield, CT. The Forman School is a 9-12 boarding school specifically targeting students who learn differently.

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