We’ve all had it right? From either a parent, teacher or friend who’s convinced that playing video games simply rots the brain and teaches us nothing useful in life. Well as many of us know, this is simply not the case. Whether it’s historical information or even just learning the rules of a sport, engaging in a video game can be one of the best tools when it comes to learning.
I’ve picked out my top 5 favourite games that have actually taught me some useful information that I use in day to day life. Remember to let me know in the comments or @RespawningUK if I’ve missed a game which you think belongs in this list. Right, let’s crack on.
Okay I realise that Assassin’s Creed isn’t exactly true to history, I mean I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a secret organisations of Assassin’s which have survived through hundreds of time periods so they can fight off the evil Templars who always find themselves in power. However that doesn’t stop them from using real life historical locations throughout Renaissance Italy, Victorian London, Ancient Egypt and more recently – Ancient Greece. You may not learn about many real life events but there’s no denying that you’ll come away with more geographical history knowledge than you went in with.
Again, this can include all the games in this franchise. I’ve always been interested in basketball, much like most people my age it’s probably because of Space Jam. However once you take away Bugs Bunny and talent thieving monsters, the actual rules of basketball and everything that surrounds it such as trades and drafts can be quite a steep learning curve. Enter video games. The 2K Sports’ NBA series is a great example of a sports game that can teach you the rules quicker than any textbook. With easy to pick up gameplay, it’s easy to find yourself addicted and then jumping into other modes such as MyGM where you’ll soon begin to learn the ins and outs of running an NBA franchise. Screw actual education, I just needed Michael Jordan, Daffy Duck and a control pad!
Sticking with the sports theme, UFC Undisputed was the first proper MMA game we’d seen for years and came just as the sport was blowing up across the world. The drawback of this game compared to something like NBA is that it was very difficult to just pick up and play, however it did feature a very clever mode called ‘Classic Fights’.
Back in 2009, UFC wasn’t the all conquering Juggernaut that you see today. You may have heard of it but unless you were lucky enough to stumble across it on the Bravo channel (remember that kids) then chances are you’d be unfamiliar with the product here in the UK. What UFC Undisputed did with classic fights was ingenious as it gave the player the ability to replay a legendary fight then once you won it, you’d unlock the actual real life fight to watch. Meaning that you were enjoying the game while being educated on UFC’s history at the same time. To this day I still find it surprising how many people I talk to who got into UFC through this game.
I’ve always been quite interested in Norse mythology but never enough to actually go and learn it past reading a few Thor comics and watching the movies. It’s handy then that God of War decided to tell such an interesting and engaging story revolving around the subject. I’d always known about Thor, Loki and Odin but to learn all about the World Serpent, Thor’s brother Baldur as well as his sons Magni and Modi was a real treat. Not forgetting all the other characters, the different realms as well as the stories told along along the journey, GOW genuinely taught me more about Norse mythology than anything that has come before for me.
I was debating to myself whether or not to include this one as it doesn’t really teach us anything I didn’t learn in school. What it did teach me however was the closest thing possible to what it must have felt like to experience the atrocities of World War 2. Sure there are dozens of movies and TV series that have told powerful and emotional stories which have given me an idea of what it must have been like, but nothing can engage you as well as a video game can. The decision to take the campaign for WWII and give it a Band of Brothers-esque makeover was enough to make me actually want to play a COD game for the first time on this gen. This one is well worth playing, especially as it’a currently free on PS Plus so don’t miss out!
There we have it, I’ve probably missed some great examples of educational video games so make sure to let me know you’re favourite in the comments or tweet me @RespawningUK or @MikeyGalaszia and I’ll get back to you.
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