Computer games have come a long way since the first players hit a ball with a paddle from one side of the screen to the other. Even in those early days though, the ability for games to teach new skills while simultaneously entertaining was very apparent.
We have recently seen a growing number of games developers integrating positive learning and self-development into the maturing games industry. Koe is a Japanese RPG which requires players to learn different kanji symbols in order to progress in the game, and now US game makers Dejobaan have launched Elegy for a Dead World — a side-scrolling game which is designed to help players develop their creative writing skills within the game’s immersive, stimulating environment.
In Elegy for a Dead World, gamers explore the destroyed civilizations of three inspiring worlds — each based on a Romantic-era poem. Players navigate the platform game as the sole survivor of an exploration mission. Their task is to survey the worlds and write accounts of them, to be sent back to the rest of the “universe” — players can choose to share their writing with other gamers at the end of the game. As the player explores the epic visualized worlds of Shelley, Keats and Byron they are faced with a series of writing challenges aided by inbuilt prompts. They must compose stories, poems and songs from the perspective of various characters. The gameplay is simple but the visuals and audio are intricate and inspiring — stimulating the imagination as the best role play adventure games so often do, and using it for educational productivity.
Developers Ichiro Lambe and Ziba Scott describe the game as “an advanced Mad Libs“, explaining that the inclusion of story fragments which guide the player were the pivotal addition, creating manageable but inspiring tasks for users who find creative writing and poetry intimidating. You can preview the gameplay in the video below:
The game completed a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2014 and is currently available via Steam for USD 14.99. Are there any other ways to utilize the creativity that great computer games can inspire?