Games are defined by Wikipedia as “an interactive computer game (e.g., video game, card game, board game, etc. ), usually undertaken for amusement or personal relaxation, and occasionally used as a teaching tool.” A game is generally a structured form of activity, normally undertaken for fun or relaxation, and in some cases used as an educational resource. Games are very different from work, which are often carried out for monetary remuneration, and from literature, which are more typically an expression of cultural or aesthetic impressions. In this article we will discuss the potential educational benefits of video games, with particular reference to young children.
Most video games are single player games that offer very simple gameplay, whereby the player controls only a fixed camera angle and various aspects of the game environment through interaction with a keyboard and/or mouse. This simplicity means that there is a greater opportunity to engage with the underlying mechanics of the game in a meaningful way, leading to learning. It has been found that players who have greater involvement with the characters and the storyline, as well as more freedom within the different types of gameplay, learn better, tend to be better problem solvers and have more patience than those who simply enjoy the superficiality of different types of gameplay.
Adventure games are very popular among males aged between thirteen and thirty-four, where they tend to comprise seventy percent of the game industry. Adventure titles require players to solve puzzles and discover secrets to advance through the game. As well as solving puzzles, players must also explore environments and interact with a variety of characters. The majority of adventure games require some degree of skill, wit and originality, as the nature of puzzles requires the player to think logically and creatively to solve problems, while characters often require a great deal of ‘nerving’. Some of the most popular adventure games include Prince of Persia, Temple of Elemental Evil, Jade Empire, A Virus Named PET, Downwell and Spelunky.
Text-based adventure games are interactive novels which feature limited text content, but offer extensive world-building, characters, dialogues and puzzles to keep the player engaged. Adventure titles include Zelda, Secret of Solstise, Xanadu and a multitude of others. The adventure titles are very popular amongst male users, with fifty percent of all players taking part in a text-based adventure game. As well as involving text, these titles also often incorporate images and other elements, in order to enhance the player’s experience. In contrast to adventure games, most text-based adventure games involve little or no gameplay.
Combat is a key element in many action-adventure games, with players taking on the role of a protagonist. In combat, the player is required to kill a variety of characters, while progressing through the game. The majority of action-adventures are based on a wide variety of different puzzle game genres, including puzzle games like Sudoku, as well as action-adventures. The gene structure of these games often results in a number of different difficulty levels. For example, Sudoku is considered by many people to be one of the easiest puzzle games available, while action-adventures are often thought of as being more difficult.
Card games, arcade games, word games and trivia games are all part of the multi-faceted gameplay of many of the leading titles in this genre. These titles are known for their unique card game mechanics and interesting characters. One of the most popular types of game mechanics is the simulation of real-life gambling scenarios. A number of these titles are available online for free, helping to make these types of games even more accessible.