Tag Archives: wwi

Chocolate-Covered Broccoli

Daphne Bavelier, TEDxCHUV: ‘Your brain on video games’:

Now, at this point, a number of you are probably wondering well, what are you waiting for, to put on the market a game that would be good for the attention of my grandmother and that she would actually enjoy, or a game that would be great to rehabilitate the vision of my grandson who has amblyopia, for example?

Well, we’re working on it, but here is a challenge. There are brain scientists like me that are beginning to understand what are the good ingredients in games to promote positive effects, and that’s what I’m going to call the broccoli side of the equation. There is an entertainment software industry which is extremely deft at coming up with appealing products that you can’t resist. That’s the chocolate side of the equation. The issue is we need to put the two together, and it’s a little bit like with food. Who really wants to eat chocolate-covered broccoli? None of you. And you probably have had that feeling, right, picking up an education game and sort of feeling, hmm, you know, it’s not really fun, it’s not really engaging. So what we need is really a new brand of chocolate, a brand of chocolate that is irresistible, that you really want to play, but that has all the ingredients, the good ingredients that are extracted from the broccoli that you can’t recognize but are still working on your brains. And we’re working on it, but it takes brain scientists to come and to get together, people that work in the entertainment software industry, and publishers, so these are not people that usually meet every day, but it’s actually doable, and we are on the right track. I’d like to leave you with that thought, and thank you for your attention.

I’m currently playing Valiant Hearts: The Great War. In speaking to the colleague that recommended the game, I told him it feels like perfect edutainment. An extremely engaging action-puzzler, rich with gorgeous music and gut-wrenching narratives, that also aims to teach the historical significance and effects of World War I. A new brand of chocolate.

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Historic Gaming

Colin Moriarty, IGN:

Indeed, players have to do very little in Valiant Hearts other than get through its short campaign, and even if you opt to do only that, it seems impossible not to get caught up in its passion and emotion. Valiant Hearts really resonates not only as a game, but as a wonderful teaching tool, one that makes history interesting and fun, just like it was when we played The Oregon Trail as young kids.

Hopefully, Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a sign of more good things to come not only for those of us who love video games, but for those of us that understand the amazing power of history, too. History doesn’t have to be boring or dry. In fact, it never is, if it’s presented right. Valiant Hearts: The Great War is all the proof you need.

Interesting read after yesterday’s Assassin’s Creed Unity piece by Chris Plante.

My high school summers were spent taking history classes. This was in an attempt to get ahead in my curriculum and to condense my history lessons into shorter timeframes. Needless to say, I hated history until playing in the fictional world of Assassin’s Creed… even Uncharted for that matter.

If there is one educational avenue games and simulations have succeeded in, something I too learned from Oregon Trail, it is their ability to immerse us in and teach us about the past. Even the most stripped down gameplay or overly embellished fictions can be successful in delivering historically accurate lessons and stories that stick. Like Plante, history is the reason I am drawn to the Assassin’s Creed games. Not neck stabbing.

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