Edutainment gets an awful rep these days, partly due to the godawful shoddy atrocities that we had to suffer through as kids. However, Sony has identified that the burgeoning gaming market - and LittleBigPlanet in particular - provides the perfect to actually get us to learn something. SCE boss Ray Maguire has confirmed a new educational DLC pack for LittleBigPlanet 2 that will teach kids elementary maths and science through its gameplay... and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
It only does everything, after all.Click here for more details...
DS games with colourful box art, a young target audience and the word "Let's" in the title tend to start alarm bells ringing... but actually Let's Draw is pretty good as far as it goes. It's an accessible and responsive art trainer for young children that teaches them how to draw basic pictures and shapes as well as fundamental artistic concepts through patient narration and practice. And it works. Whether you'd classify it as a game is another matter entirely, but it's portable edutainment at its finest. Perfect for your budding little artists.
Talkman was a brave attempt to turn the PSP into a voice-activated universal translator... and credit where credit's due, it actually works. Kinda. French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese phrases can be translated into English or vice versa; with the ability to search through useful expressions by situation to turn it into a phrase book. I actually tested Talkman's microphone functionality in Spain... and was surprised to find that it works very well. Unfortunately you have to tell it what language you need and what surroundings you're in... which is much slower than using a phrase book or just loudly repeating your English request over and over again. It's a novelty rather than a genuinely important tool, but it's still well worth checking out as a unique stocking filler.
While I can't see this setting the hearts of any of our readers alight, it would make a great budget gift for any younger brothers or sisters or cousins you might have, while scooping some brownie points with their parents too, thanks to the vaguely educational nature of the game. It's basically a mini game collection with an arena for fighting gladiatorial duels and some information about the lives of the ancient Romans sprinkled here and there. Unfortunately the difficulty level seems pitched way too high for the young audience but at this price you can afford to buy an extra, less cerebrally demanding gift to balance things out!
E3 is only a few weeks away, and publishers are starting to whet our appetites by divulging their upcoming gaming portfolios. Ubisoft is first off the bat: and according to the press release, their booth will be showing off the "highly anticipated Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Shaun White Skateboarding, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, the next iteration of the blockbuster franchise Driver, and many other titles that are yet to be announced." Apparently, the official Ubisoft website will allow fans to keep up to date with the latest developments in the booth and press conference- though naturally we'll be monitoring the situation very closely.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Shaun White Skateboarding and Future Soldier were dead certs for an E3 showing, but we're excited to see that Driver will also be making an appearance. Driver: The Recruit (our best guess at the title according to recent trademarks) will hopefully be a return to form for the series.
Ubisoft will be holding a press conference on June 14th to kick off the E3 shenanigans. Joel McHale, star of the American sitcom Community, will be hosting the event.
Nintendo has announced that Pokepark Wii will be released in Europe this July. Taking the role of the adorable electric rat Pikachu, players will be able to engage in a series of "skill games" and team up with other Pokemon to save the park. These minigames include Rhyperior's Bumper Burn, Bulbasaur's Daring Dash, Salamence's Air Ace, Venusaur's Vine Swing and Gyarados' Aqua Dash. Oh joy.
Frankly, this minigame collection sounds absolutely horrible. Still, if you're craving a little more Pokemon action after the incredibly well-featured HeartGold and SoulSilver versions then you've only got a few weeks to wait. [1UP]
Wow. Whoa. Wait. What? Finally, an authority figure has spoken out to the media in favour of our favoured entertainment medium. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has praised the educational power of computer games, calling them a "fabulous" teaching tool. When asked about how extracurricular education could be made more fun and accessible to children, O'Connor homed in on the amount of time that most kids sink into playing videogames.
"It's a huge amount of time. Now, if we can capture just part of that time, a little bit of it, to get 'em in front of a computer screen to play these games, they're going to learn. And they don't even know they're learning. I mean, they're fun. The games are great."
She's not wrong. A recently released report indicates that gaming hours are on the rise, with gamers aged 2 and upwards playing for an average of 13 hours a week... and the hardcore logging well over 48 hours per week (though I managed 48 hours in three days when Morrowind was first released). If some of this time could be leveraged into learning, we could end up with some seriously smart gamers.
Fat chance, though. This would, of course, require games developers and publishers to take edutainment seriously. Traditionally, Edutainment titles have been truly terrible affairs that don't respect their target audience. Even kids deserve decent games. [abc news]