Would you play a modern educational game?

I grew up playing a few of these in the late 90's, early 2000's. The Oregon Trail: 3rd Edition "Now there are three Oregons!", Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?, MindMaze, the Magic School Bus demo that came with Windows 95 (YOU KNOW THE ONE), Reader Rabbit, and then a game with an interactive farm and jungle. Also, I watched people in my 5th grade class play Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? and Math Blaster. Would you play an educational game made for adults? Does your child-like hunger for knowledge still exist?

(Can't figure out how to indent this damn thing) The second question is, do they even make educational games anymore? Being an adult now removes me from the world of children's video games so I wouldn't really know, but judging from the Quick Look of Oregon Trail for the 3DS, even that series is dead in the area of education. Maybe games have become so expensive to make that educational ones have fallen by the wayside like some other genres. I don't think that stops some indie-developer from making one though but the issue is if the audience for it exists, especially for the older crowd. (I actually don't have any proof of dying genres from increased development costs. It just FEELS true.)

I would readily play an educational game if it was fun (I only play fun games) and it existed. The only real experience I have recently is a mod for Rome: Total War named Europa Barbarorum. A bunch of modders didn't like what Creative Assembly did with that period of time. Mostly by making Ptolemaic Egypt into New Kingdom Egypt because these damn kids today will see the Egyptian faction and say "What the hell is this? Where are my pyramid units?" Even though New Kingdom Egypt didn't build any pyramids. The mod was filled with historical fluff information and if you cared to learn more about something, you could take your time and read the descriptions. I'm assuming they did their research correctly, but it showed me how weird the world was back then. Weird is probably the wrong world, but it did not look like what other depictions of the ancient world would have shown you. It was surprising, really. Do you know what a falx is? It's a crazy weapon. I ended up putting over 300 hours into it. I had almost as much fun playing, as I did learning!

Other than Europa Barbarorum, I can't think of any modern educational games except maybe simulators and maybe Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster. In retrospect, the only thing I really learned from The Oregon Trail: 3rd Edition was that poisonous berries almost always look poisonous.

24 Comments
24 Comments
Posted by gorkamorkaorka

I grew up playing a few of these in the late 90's, early 2000's. The Oregon Trail: 3rd Edition "Now there are three Oregons!", Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?, MindMaze, the Magic School Bus demo that came with Windows 95 (YOU KNOW THE ONE), Reader Rabbit, and then a game with an interactive farm and jungle. Also, I watched people in my 5th grade class play Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? and Math Blaster. Would you play an educational game made for adults? Does your child-like hunger for knowledge still exist?

(Can't figure out how to indent this damn thing) The second question is, do they even make educational games anymore? Being an adult now removes me from the world of children's video games so I wouldn't really know, but judging from the Quick Look of Oregon Trail for the 3DS, even that series is dead in the area of education. Maybe games have become so expensive to make that educational ones have fallen by the wayside like some other genres. I don't think that stops some indie-developer from making one though but the issue is if the audience for it exists, especially for the older crowd. (I actually don't have any proof of dying genres from increased development costs. It just FEELS true.)

I would readily play an educational game if it was fun (I only play fun games) and it existed. The only real experience I have recently is a mod for Rome: Total War named Europa Barbarorum. A bunch of modders didn't like what Creative Assembly did with that period of time. Mostly by making Ptolemaic Egypt into New Kingdom Egypt because these damn kids today will see the Egyptian faction and say "What the hell is this? Where are my pyramid units?" Even though New Kingdom Egypt didn't build any pyramids. The mod was filled with historical fluff information and if you cared to learn more about something, you could take your time and read the descriptions. I'm assuming they did their research correctly, but it showed me how weird the world was back then. Weird is probably the wrong world, but it did not look like what other depictions of the ancient world would have shown you. It was surprising, really. Do you know what a falx is? It's a crazy weapon. I ended up putting over 300 hours into it. I had almost as much fun playing, as I did learning!

Other than Europa Barbarorum, I can't think of any modern educational games except maybe simulators and maybe Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster. In retrospect, the only thing I really learned from The Oregon Trail: 3rd Edition was that poisonous berries almost always look poisonous.

Posted by phrali

i used to play carmen sandiego and orgeon trail.

i don't think i actually learned anything from those games.

Posted by DeF

I don't know if the science in it is 100% accurate but SpaceChem is a fine example of a game that is fascinating to play and teaches you at least a little bit about chemistry.

Posted by Vinny_Says

I would play a math blaster remake no doubt!!

Posted by ShaggE

Hell yeah I would.

Edited by Dagbiker

I played where in the USA is Carmen Sandiago but i owned where in usa, where in the world, and later where in time is Carmen Sandiago . My mom was always buying me reader rabbit, and math blaster. I always remember getting the scholastic magazeen at the end of the month from our teacher and fliping to the back where they would have the ads for the video games. thats how i got the orgeon trail, the Yukon trail, and the Amazon (trail), they wher'nt very imaginative with the names back then.

to answer your question, i would love to buy my kid ( if i had a kid ) educational software, and i hope i can find some when/if need to.

Posted by believer258

Not at 20 years old, I wouldn't. Educational games are meant for kids to learn stuff with. Anything they can be taught, I probably either already know or can Google search real quickly. Besides, I never really liked them when they were on the Elementary school computers. Super NES and PS1 games were just so much better, mostly because I could kill stuff with sensible things like fire from a small purple dragon, tornado spins, and plumbers jumping on the heads of things.

Hell, the only reason I gave two shits about Oregon Trail was because holy crap, I can shoot stuff and the adults think I'm actually learning something!

Who actually played Oregon Trail for anything other than shooting stuff?

Anything that I can learn, for that matter, would be better learnt from books than video games.

Anyway, I don't think there are many more educational games being made. I believe there's a Sesame Street game being made somewhere, but I'm not certain so you'll have to Google it.

Posted by gorkamorkaorka

@phrali said:

i used to play carmen sandiego and orgeon trail.

i don't think i actually learned anything from those games.

I learned some basic stuff like the Inca counted with knots of string, where some forts where in the 1800's, natural rock formations, plants, and where some states were, the Donner Party.

@Vinny_Says said:

I would play a math blaster remake no doubt!!

Wouldn't you need to play that with like, college level math though?

@believer258 said:

Not at 20 years old, I wouldn't. Educational games are meant for kids to learn stuff with. Anything they can be taught, I probably either already know or can Google search real quickly. Besides, I never really liked them when they were on the Elementary school computers. Super NES and PS1 games were just so much better, mostly because I could kill stuff with sensible things like fire from a small purple dragon, tornado spins, and plumbers jumping on the heads of things.

Hell, the only reason I gave two shits about Oregon Trail was because holy crap, I can shoot stuff and the adults think I'm actually learning something!

Who actually played Oregon Trail for anything other than shooting stuff?

Anything that I can learn, for that matter, would be better learnt from books than video games.

Anyway, I don't think there are many more educational games being made. I believe there's a Sesame Street game being made somewhere, but I'm not certain so you'll have to Google it.

You kids and your murder simulators. Yeah, anything can be taught with books but that's not purpose of educational games. They can break you into a subject that otherwise would have seen too daunting or you wouldn't have found interesting. I didn't want to read scholarly books about Antiquity until Europa Barbarorum exposed me to it. How many people are interested in String Theory from research papers? How many people are interested in String Theory from easily digestible episodes of Nova?

Posted by Ubersmake

Looking back, I'm not sure what made educational games particularly "educational," unless they blatantly had you solve math problems. Otherwise, they were just marketed toward teachers and parents.

Would I play an educational game? Sure, why not? Oregon Trail was a game about resource management. Carmen Sandiego was a zany detective story. And I've been playing the Civilization games for years, and who's going to say that I *didn't* learn some history from those games?

Edited by believer258

@gorkamorkaorka said:

@phrali said:

i used to play carmen sandiego and orgeon trail.

i don't think i actually learned anything from those games.

I learned some basic stuff like the Inca counted with knots of string, where some forts where in the 1800's, natural rock formations, plants, and where some states were, the Donner Party.

@Vinny_Says said:

I would play a math blaster remake no doubt!!

Wouldn't you need to play that with like, college level math though?

@believer258 said:

Not at 20 years old, I wouldn't. Educational games are meant for kids to learn stuff with. Anything they can be taught, I probably either already know or can Google search real quickly. Besides, I never really liked them when they were on the Elementary school computers. Super NES and PS1 games were just so much better, mostly because I could kill stuff with sensible things like fire from a small purple dragon, tornado spins, and plumbers jumping on the heads of things.

Hell, the only reason I gave two shits about Oregon Trail was because holy crap, I can shoot stuff and the adults think I'm actually learning something!

Who actually played Oregon Trail for anything other than shooting stuff?

Anything that I can learn, for that matter, would be better learnt from books than video games.

Anyway, I don't think there are many more educational games being made. I believe there's a Sesame Street game being made somewhere, but I'm not certain so you'll have to Google it.

You kids and your murder simulators. Yeah, anything can be taught with books but that's not purpose of educational games. They can break you into a subject that otherwise would have seen too daunting or you wouldn't have found interesting. I didn't want to read scholarly books about Antiquity until Europa Barbarorum exposed me to it. How many people are interested in String Theory from research papers? How many people are interested in String Theory from easily digestible episodes of Nova?

You missed my point. Perfectly excusable, given my rather poor wording, but it was still missed.

I don't want to play a game whose explicit purpose is my education. I do want to play a game whose explicit purpose is my entertainment. If said entertainment leads to a learning experience, then that is a good thing. Omega Boost led me to an interest in ENIAC; Call of Duty 2 led me to a (rather short lived) interest in World War 2 era battles and weapons. But those weren't the main focuses of these games. However, if a game is trying to half-heartedly feed me information, I would rather just hear it from a book.

Posted by Brunchies

Ever played The Cat and the coup, I'm pretty sure it's sort of an education game and it was pretty damn interesting, if done like that then sure.

Posted by gorkamorkaorka

@believer258: Any educational game I had in mind, WOULD be fun enough to where you weren't thinking "This is hamfisted." I wish I didn't just look up Omega Boost's story. That's a really bad plot.

Edited by jetsetwillie

when i was in primary school as we call it in the UK i used to play text adventures on the BBC model b which was found in many schools in the UK in the early 80's.

i suppose they educated me a bit. but these days id rather read a book or watch a good documentary to learn.

games are for playing imo

Edited by PenguinDust

Depends on what it was teaching me. I'd play something that taught me a foreign language and was fun. When I was in middle school I remember playing this game that simulated running a nuclear power plant that was a lot of fun. I can't recall the name of it, but it was on the Apple II's my school had back then. (Three Mile Island maybe? EDIT: Yes that was it, it seems I posted this a while back)

Posted by MysteriousBob

I didn't grow up with any. I have no nostalgia, so no.

Unless The Typing of the Dead counts. That game is an incredible typing tutor.

Posted by ProfessorEss

I don't really care about playing them much myself, but I would love if they'd release educational games for kids on PSN/XBLA so I could play them with my boy.

I'd probably be willing to pay more than I should for even a cheaply developed/poorly made game if it had a solid educational core.

Posted by believer258

@gorkamorkaorka said:

@believer258: Any educational game I had in mind, WOULD be fun enough to where you weren't thinking "This is hamfisted." I wish I didn't just look up Omega Boost's story. That's a really bad plot.

Yes, it is bad. But I was nine years old at the time, and after finding out that ENIAC was a real thing I just had to look it up.

Anyway, if an educational game comes out that proves itself entertaining, then I will by all means buy it. But I haven't been proven otherwise.

Posted by Marcsman

To quote Pink Floyd " We don't need no education"

Posted by eugenesaxe

If it's a good game, of course. An educational game would have to be damn good, but yeah.

Posted by iam3green

maybe. i don't remember too much of playing educational games back in the day. in 5th grade i remember playing some typing game and then we would learn power point.

Posted by DukesT3

I grew up in the mid-90s.

Educational game? Nah, a realistic game of Oregon Trail or something like that? Hell yeah. Family might get small pox, son is dying in pain and what do you do?! Let him suffer hoping for a cure while he slows you down? Or end his life?! WHAT?!

Sorry, just came back from drinking with friends so I'm ramblin a bit.. ITS BEEN A LONG ROOOOOOOOAD!

Posted by GaryDooton

All children should be made to play Typing of the Dead, so that they may become deathly afeared of typing slowly and inaccurately.

Posted by gorkamorkaorka

I feel like a half-decent Oregon Trail fan game could be pulled off by me using Game Maker and using my friends as FMV characters. DIALOGUE WHEELS YALL

Posted by Dagbiker
This is what Educational games have turned into, for better or for worse.