The Case For Educational Games

After reading this story from GamesIndustry.biz, I got to thinking about educational games. I’m sure we all remember those horrible games that whored out Mario’s name, like Mario Teaches Typing and Mario’s Time Machine (although, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I have fond memories of the latter). So, I got to thinking about games meant for the general gaming masses that are still educational and provide new information to players.I enjoyed that most World War II FPS had some decent information on the missions that were being fought. I know the Medal of Honor series tended to have cutscenes that felt too forced, like I had just jumped into a bad History Channel program, detailing all the boring points of a battle and making me want to skip through them as quickly as possible. I haven’t gotten to sit down and play Call of Duty or Battlefield 1942 thoroughly, but from what I know, they at least put players in some major historical battles.For a game to be both fun and educational, I believe that the educational material has to fit into the gameplay logically and have purpose. Also, the game has to require active retention of some information in order to pass onto new areas. How this would be implemented, I have no idea, but then again, I’m not being paid to actually make this into a game.The one problem I see is that these games can’t be marketed all over the world. For example, explaining the Civil War in a game would require massive amounts of story, explaining the causes of the war, how it progressed, and all that, for people outside of America. Likewise for the War of the Roses for anyone outside of Britain.Do gamers really want to even bother with games that try to teach them something? Are games with a message or educational material not wanted at all, or would they be welcomed like other games? And if so, how would these ideas be made into good games?

8BitBrian