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30 Genres of Christmas
Educational
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 09, 2009   |   Episode 14 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're counting down the days until Christmas by looking at 30 different video game genres. From the most popular games to the tiniest niche titles, everything fits into a genre and we're going to be there to shed absolutely no new information about that genre in this month-long feature. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 30 Genres of Christmas!



Screw you, mom and dad!
How Do You Know You Are Playing an Educational Game? Do you seem that smile on your mom's face? This is the most excited she's been about a video game since ... well, forever. She's practically skipping down the hallway. You hear her on the phone telling her friends about how much she loves video games. And worst of all, now she expects more from you. She just told you that she expects you to improve your grades and be less aggressive at school. If any of that is happening, then it certainly sounds like you're playing (or about to play) an education al game!

Patron Saint: Text books and study aides.

Typical Story: You play a nerdy gorilla who must swing from vine to vine spelling words correctly. And then when he's done with that, he's going to be jumping on numbers to answer a series of math questions. Eventually this leads us to reading comprehension and an essay competition that will pit your research against

Maybe Mario wouldn't be missing if he had brought Toad or Peach instead of the dim-witted Luigi!
the rest of the zoo. Complete this and you get game over screen that misspells the word "Congratulations."

What Your Old Teacher Says: "Bah, kids these days! Back when I was in school we didn't have no fancy video games to help us. We didn't even know what a video game was. We had barely just invented fire technology, so we were lucky that we could do any kind of studying at all. It wasn't until I was a Junior in High School that paper was invented, and even then I had to wait a year before we had pens or pencils to write with. Often we would use a knife to cut our hands and then we would study using nothing but our blood. It was a better time."


Oh ... there she is!
Not an Educational Game: One could certainly argue that all games are educational. Even the most balls-to-the-wall, action-packed video game can offer some sage advice from time to time. I learned from Grand Theft Auto that if I ever want to regain life, all I need to do is hire a hooker ... and then killer her to get my money back. But Grand Theft Auto isn't an educational game. I learned how to survive alone in the jungle from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. But Snake Eater isn't an educational game. I learned from Super Mario Bros. 3 that to fly all you need is a tail and a leaf. But Mario isn't educational. Well, except for Mario is Missing and Mario in Time, those are educational. But not Super Mario Bros. 3.

Then vs. Now? Is there ever a good era for educational games? The problem with this genre is that most are nothing more than failed attempts at other genres. We get half-assed action games that, while well intentioned, fail at being fun OR educational. You're better off just reading Wikipedia for a few hours a night. I suppose today's games are able to mask the education a little better, but there's no going back once you realize that its main goal is to teach you something.
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