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Should games replace text books?

11:30 AM on 04.13.2013 // Jonathan Holmes

This and more with developer Steve Swink!

On last Sunday's Sup, Holmes? (now on iTunes) Steve Swink made me look bad. I thought I knew a thing or two about the man, but our discussion revealed that there a lot of important stuff that I had missed, like his work on Tony Hawk: Underground and the book on game design he wrote. I also learned about the beard of sorrow he grew while working on an unreleased Xbox game called The Unseen. I can relate with a man who has grown a beard of sorrow. 

The meat of the conversation focused on two things, Steve's upcoming game Scale (exclusive screenshot featuring new pretty-as-f*ck art direction  in the gallery) and Steve's work on videogames purposed to replace text books in the nation's school system. I can't decide which one is more likely to make him rich and famous. Scale is a game where you can grow or shrink any object in the game to nearly any degree. It's the kind of game that is compatible with almost any human, as almost every human is more fascinated with things that are very, very large or very, very small. The challenge for Steve is to make the game live up to the mechanic. I don't envy the amount of work it'll take to pull that off, but I'm confident he can pull it together.

As great as Scale sounds, I'm actually more excited at the prospect of Steve's work in the education system. The two games he helped designed for the school curriculum (one on Earth Science, the other for Persuasive Writing) sound amazing. To treat children with respect and to reward them for growing and achieving through the language of videogames is just brilliant. It sounds like it worked too. To give today's kids (and the rest of us for that matter) the opportunity to learn through doing instead of tasking us to coldly download information through memorization seems like common sense, but it takes risk takers to make it happen. So make it happen, everybody. 

Thanks again to Steve for coming on the show, and tune in this week when we welcome fighting game champion, Talk Fast star and Divekick developer Adam Heart to the program. It'll be a hoot.

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