We play, we learn.

Video games… can and do they educate us? Like many people around, I enjoy playing video games in my spare time. However, I have particularly enjoyed games that teach me something or at least challenge my mind to think through carefully in order to solve a problem or puzzle presented within the game. This leads me to question if video games can be a good form of education in terms of learning and thinking outside the box.

The Assassins Creed series particularly is a great example of educating a player. The game itself is not only an open world action-adventure game but also falls into the historical fiction genre, using a mix of both fiction and non-fiction within the storyline. Initially when I played the first instalment of the series I decided to search up several of the events and characters within the game. In finding the events and characters were in fact true, I became fascinated with the game and later its other instalments.

Not only does the series provide a good history of non-fictional events (albeit in some ways slightly twisted with the mix of fictional protagonists) but the challenges each game presents make the player really think hard to solve the problem. I personally found this with the code cracking challenges in AC II and Brotherhood which relate to the games ‘subject 16’ or Clay Kaczmarek where in order to solve the mystery of this character, the player must find hidden marks or rifts and then undergo a set of challenges which can require a great deal of thought for some players.

Now… can video games educate? Although there are some issues with historical accuracy in games I believe that they can still educate and aid better thinking skills for players. Even if the historical accuracy is not 100%, games do still provide the player with some form of education. Furthermore, as a player’s interest with the game deepens, there could also be the chance that the player becomes interested with the information the game provides. This in turn could result in the player doing some research on things such as historical events and characters within the game. I would say that a game not only gives us real information but helps us stimulate an interest towards it. The puzzles a player solves in a game also. The thought a player puts into finding the answer could give a player a greater sense of thought which they may be able to apply into the real world.

In saying all of this, I believe video games do have an educational purpose. Not only are we able to learn off playing games but we can have fun while we’re at it. This is a case where learning can be fun.


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