'Educational' video games: stop kidding yourself - Macleans.ca

‘Educational’ video games: stop kidding yourself

Try Halo Reach instead.


Gift, present, Christmas gift, wrapping paperWhen I’m in EB Games, it’s always sickening to see parents and grandparents buying LEGO Indiana Jones 2 or Kung-Fu Panda for their kids. They seem to think that buying video games is kind of like buying a pair of socks: they’re all the same, so there’s no point getting fussy about a particular pair.

And by the way, there’s no such thing as an educational video game, so don’t bother with Ultimate Spelling Bee or Virtual Math Coach. The words “educational” and “videogame” shouldn’t be in the same sentence, unless you’re making the point that they shouldn’t be in the same sentence.

For one thing, you’re wasting your money, because a normal kid is never going to play 101 Grammar Exercises on their Nintendo DS.

Secondly, stop kidding yourself with the whole “educational” thing. It’s still a videogame. Kind of like those “Healthy Choice” apple slices at McDonald’s that come with caramel dip.

-Photo courtesy of mysza831


‘Educational’ video games: stop kidding yourself

  1. Your examples do sound like terrible video games. That said, I wanted to share that there are actually some amazing educational video games out there that successfully implement school-like exercises into interactive games and puzzles:
    JumpStart Adventures, SimCity, Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego, Magic School Bus…

    and for older children – while not purely educational, there can be a lot to learn from strategy and MMO games … pure economics, general problem solving, optimization, strategic planning, being a part of communities and cliques (gaining understanding, communication between parties)

    In short, don’t write off the value of (good) educational video games!