Twilight Princess
Feature

I Took My Outdoor Education Professor On A Canoe Trip In Twilight Princess

When you think of outdoor educators, someone like Z (name changed to protect privacy) probably comes to mind: grey hair in braids, wearing a wool sweater with jeans and mukluks, she uses her university email account with reluctance and sees devices as a harbinger of the end-times. Her pedagogy born out of her environmental activism in the 70s, Z will talk your ear off about “indoor kids” and the “wired generation,” and how the only solution to the oncoming apocalypse is taking technology out of kids’ hands. She’s also curious about The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006). I’d applied…

1979 revolution
Review

1979 Revolution is a history lesson for the Netflix generation

As a school-aged kid in the 1990s, I didn’t spend a lot of class time talking about Iran. The name Ayatollah Khomeini meant more to me as a reference to a joke from The Simpsons than as an actual historical figure. As an adult, I became marginally more aware of Iran’s contemporary position within Middle East quagmires and U.S. international tensions, but my understanding of its recent history grew no more sophisticated. So when I sat down to play 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, I felt both curious and ignorant of the world I was entering. And, to developer iNK Stories’ significant…

losswordslead
News

An upcoming puzzle game tasks you with decoding classic literature

In the world of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, books have been outlawed and are burned en masse by the state, only kept in small collections by the occasional revolutionary. Instead of reading, the majority of people spend their free time in “entertainment parlors,” rooms lined with massive screens that constantly broadcast Dora the Explorer-style call-and-response programs meant to elicit the illusion of interactivity. It’s a pointed premise, conceived during the early years of the television’s rise to prominence in the American household. It also reflects a constant theme in Bradbury’s work: that with advances in technology, culture tends…

finalsfantasylead
News

Finals Fantasy creates game design lesson plans anyone can use

As tablets continue to move into schools and games like Minecraft (2011) are repurposed to educate, the idea of gamification, or using games to teach students about the world, has been gaining popularity as of late. However, as an increasingly diverse artistic medium of its own, others are developing new ways for students to learn about games themselves. Described as a series of “speculative projects for game art students,” Finals Fantasy has gathered together a small group of notable artists, educators, and critics to challenge and expand how game design is taught. (Oh, and so you know, Kill Screen founder Jamin Warren…

darwinlead
News

Fighting game will pit Darwin against Tesla in brutal fisticuffs

Science Kombat, an upcoming newsgame created by Fred Di Giacomo Rocha and Otavio Cohen from Brazil’s Superinteressante science and culture magazine, aims to teach players about some of history’s greatest minds not by handing them a dry quiz, but by having a select group of notable scientists beat the crap out of each other in one-on-one fights. It’s education by way of the WWE, hearkening to playground debates of who-would-win versus battles more than classroom lectures, and the result is a game that aims to be both educational and yet also features Albert Einstein shooting people with lasers. In the style of…

Giapetta's Workshop
News

New Kickstarter uses crafting, jewelry, and games to get girls coding

A new Kickstarter entitled Giapetta’s Workshop wants to blend coding, crafting, and narrative into a single game that encourages 8-12 year old girls to be interested in STEM. The game begins in the real world, with a necklace and jewelry box that each girl can customize to fit her own style. The necklace then becomes her portal into an animated Adventure-Story app that turns learning how to code into a magical journey. The necklace serves as an input device which reveals hidden spells that, in turn, can only be unlocked by learning a basic coding program. Giapetta’s Workshop stars a…

simcity1
News

The original SimCity guide was basically a textbook on urban development

Back when the first SimCity was released in 1989, the editor of Computer Gaming World magazine, Johnny L. Wilson, was commissioned to write a guide for the city management sim called The SimCity Planning Commission Handbook. In a manner befitting the complexity of the original SimCity, Wilson didn’t just want to confine his explanations of the game’s mechanics to the context of the game itself, but expand on those theories beyond the simulation, shedding light on the real-life parallels SimCity is built on. A city is a machine with many moving parts  Richard Moss has a long, detailed post on…

sandylead_1
News

UCLA and Kinect just made sandboxes so much cooler

When I was a kid, I had a small plastic sandbox on my patio in the shape of a turtle. It came with a little turtle shell cover to keep the sand clean and safe when I wasn’t playing with it, but looking back on it as an adult, that stuff still probably wasn’t all that sanitary. Still, it was always one of my favorite things to play with as a child, even if it annoyed my parents, and I’m guessing I wasn’t alone in that. It could never quite replace the joy I got from videogames, but sometimes you…

sl1
News

The weird abandoned spaces of virtual worlds

I went to college in a rolling campus up on a forested hill, where the woods served as a playground on bored Sunday evenings, and frequent late-night power outages meant sneaking into empty administrative buildings, or finally searching for that deserted amphitheater tucked away in the forest, resigned to wood rot in its abandonment. There were days I would walk across campus and not see a single other student anywhere on the winding roads, dirt trails, or cement plazas of the school. But even then, the emptiness of these real, physical spaces rarely felt as eerie as that of the…