Edutainment

I walked into my local game/comic book store to meet interesting people and learn of new and intersting things. I saw a bunch of guys playing Kaijudo. They were ver friendly and quickly introduced me to the game and let me play a few rounds. Then they got me some promostional decks that were free and I played with those. Then they told me about a legue they are starting and something they are doing tommorow. I thought wow what a nice group of people. If only I found the game interesting.

So I started to reflect on why I find Magic interesting but not Kaijudo. It comes down to a few very important concepts.

Art Work – The art work in magic the gathering is so much more advanced, the art work in kaijudo is cartoony by comparison, imo.

Linguistics – The choice of language is far richer in magic as they make may references to history, myth, and ideas from many realms of social sciences, health sciences, botany, ect.

Then for stuff like creature tokens, and dealing damage anyways you chose, and over a certain number of turns, omg it could get real with calculus ect. This could turn into a whole other game based even more solely on math skill but it would probably be intensely fun. If this is possible, if there is a way to make a math game that is actually fun, then even if I don’t get rich, everyone who plays it will be amazing in school and life. That is the kind of thing I want to focus on. Not drudgery.

Lore – the story hinted to through artwork, lore text, and other elements of the cards is also extremely rich

Perceived significance – The sum of the above three aspects and maybe others I haven’t even mentioned is a game is at the same time, an education, especially through the curiosity it provokes in those interested, those who feel the pull towards the powerful ideas the cards are based on.

Kaijudo cannot compare in these aspects and this is I think the reason I can’t get into it.

What I can do is continue analyzing what makes games like these, and other games in general, good. For instance, it seems most of the top selling games from larger companies make sure to have these elements in place in one way or another. They make sure the ideas behind them are as intellectually stimulating as the actual game, if not more. For instance most FPS these days are heavily based on real military combat meaning the player gets an immerse education in this field. Then there are games like starcraft where even though it is based on the future and on aliens, it makes sure to be brimming with technical concepts beyond game mechanics. I feel the element of learning is, well it’ important to me at least.

So if I were to make a game, I would probably focus at least a much on the ideas as on the game play, and I would go as in-depth as possible, as I feel the further in-depth you go, the more immerse the experience. What I wonder is what the limit to this is. I feel like Eve online is pushing this limit for sure. They obviously make sure there are ways to play that are immerse but avoid any dullness that rea life would have. I mean, could people be taught mathematics in Eve with the hope of using it to affect that world? Or would that be too immersive? I mean, is the enjoyment of the game in the removal of tasks that are too challenging, or is it about the world itself. See I wonder, is anyone using complex mathematics to help them in the game? Also, if the game introduced a way to level that involved mathematical manipulations on an in game screen with a really fancy design for the numbers and everything, would that remain immersive? Or would it be like snapping back to reality and not fun. Adding and subtracting is boring as shit if someone just hads you a piece of paper and says do it for 30 and hour. However, if it’s for the sake of a game it’s no problem. Same with reading. If it’s for a game I’m sure people would be willing o even learn a new language to take part.

Basically I think learning takes place best when there is a world that you want to get involved in but the only way to experience it is to jump through educational hoops. I mean, learning magic the gathering I’m pretty sure was were my reading comprehension really took off. However, it wasn’t like the game worked on a work reward basis. I think the pictures just made me want to know what the words meant, and then the words made me want to know the concepts and or history behind them. I can see this working with Chinese characters. For one, people already are probably curious about the artistic lines ect of the characters, but memorizing would be beyond their level of motivation. However, at least for some people, if there was a card game or some other sort of collectible item that paired curiosity peeking pictures with a Chinese characters or sentences that were related to them in a powerful way, I could see people wanting to know at least the meaning behind those characters.

Ways to do this

Beautiful Photographs/Art + characters

Possibly sexy and mysterious pictures/Art + characters

Photos/Art + small blurb with a few words changed to characters and characters as a title, then a legend that allows the person to make sense of the blurb. Or even make the legend a separate card. Or make it a puzzle where multiple(maybe just a few) cards are needed to piece together the meaning of a story, which makes them collectible in that way.

Or it could be short stories in general, with pictures, and collectible, and with a legend for figuring out the 10-20 words that are in each case written in Chinese.

That’s for languages, it would work amazingly well the more people got involved with their own ideas to collaborate on creating something. As well it can be given importance in another way by making it actually all related to some aspects of daily life. Either humor, or gossip, ect. So basically it could even be comic strips, but they would have to be organized around a specific set of vocabulary and graded so that everyone can start from a beginning or some starting point and work through learning as they enjoy.

Another way I’ve thought this could be done is take a comic book in English, and use whiteout over 10 frequently used works and write over them, or glue an printed out tag, of the Chinese for them. Then read the book with a legend to refer to at the start until you get those words down cold. Or maybe no legend or only some words in legend and just learn the words through context. Or do the opposite with comics that are only in Chinese write English over all of it except the word you want to learn, or write enligsh over key words and try to understand the rest through context.

Or someone could edit all online comics to make this an option for anyone looking to learn the language.

Now, that is for languages, and to make it even more of a game you could make it social online by letting people test their knowledge of what they learned and then get a score based on how many words they learned. That just bridges the gap between beginner and intermediate in terms of motivation so that people will be more likely to read for the learning as well as the story instead of just getting it translated for them. Of course this is assuming the comics are original otherwise they would be the ones to not even try the learner’s verision.

For math it might be a bit more tricky, but it would be basically some aspect of entertainment that already involves using math, and just add more math in without making it too boring? For example, if instead of the creatures having an integral power and toughness and spells integral damage, the damage they deal could easily be written as a formula the player has to solve, or even roll the dice to see which question of which page of the math book to complete to solve for damage. If the cards were printed this way, I think it would arouse curiousity for players so that without trying to solve the problem they would at least study the problem to get a general idea of how much damage would be dealt so they would know if it’s a lot or a little. As well, the numbers to plug into the formula could be based on number of swamps in control + number of swamps in casting cost of all creatures, ect, to keep people from just memorizing the number for the cards. Or even a more randomized way or doing it, like dice rolls with a computer generating dice. ect. The formulas would have to require some form of transformation to make sure it isn’t just a calculator plug and chug. However this may be too tedious and take to long for every turn, if this is the case maybe the math needs to become a more integral part of the game without sacrificing story and art elements ect. However, it would be fun if the players were then given a very high number of life, with the possibility that a card would come down dealing close to infinite damage. Then the players would have to constantly be thinking of way more complex equations so they could form their strategy to avoid that, and it would be based on the card formulas, plus other aspects of the board plus their hands, plus probability. It would be more complicated but I think it would also be far more competitive and therefore possibly far more fun.

If I were to do this I would need quite a few people working on it. We copy an existing game model almost exactly except for this to save time. How about it, do you want to compete based only on strategy and on who can add and subtract, or do you wanna take things to the next level. I feel that one of the only ways math works well in games is when it is related to competition, but maybe it could somehow work with other things as well like mystery or an adventure book. The math would have to be integrated enough that the answers wouldn’t be available online. Also the story and/or other elements would have to be top notch if this is to be a solo game. I mean, I guess I can see this working in rpgs if the swords damage is an equation instead of just a number, but maybe a lot of people would just do trial and error if they find it too taxing. Or it could be that there are time savers like avoiding battles ect, but they require the use of higher math skills.

For some reason I feel the best way to use math is when it is focused directly on the persons chance of winning, in a strategic situation. In this way because we feel a very primal relationship between quantity and winning vs losing, so it makes sense that where the quantities can vary more greatly and are more mysterious and unpredictable without higher math, I feel it should increase excitement.
If the cards were actual lcd screens instead of just cards, it would mean even more possible variation in card attributes from game to game. Also instead of MTG requiring set expansions, the attributes could just be downloaded from online every few months.

Infact, I wouldn’t even have to make new cards yet, I can just shove sticky in the shield with each card and the title would be something like Insane mode ect. Of course, when introducing it to new players I would have at most 2 decks and I would have a legend for the new formulas on each. Also the rule could be no using a pen to actually calculate these, you have to just know what the formula is doing and then estimate. You only get to calculate after the damage is dealt. That way more time is spent understanding the math under pressure, and less time is spent actually calculating. Rounds are already time limited so I guess there’s no need to limit turn times, just be fair I guess, no running up the clock.

As well, the math can become increasingly complex in each new expansion. For instance, if the next expansion introduced powers only, as a way of writing attack power, like 2^2/2^2 as a attack power, kids would quickly learn what that meant. WTF hasn’t anyone thought of that yet??? Then it could even be a new type of spell that involves all the crazy new formulas to start with, almost like a taste of what many cards may have in the future. Or maybe since people will say, why didn’t they just put 4 instead of 2^2, well maybe it would have to be 2^w where w = number o white mana, obvious cause it say w. So if the card as 2w/2w and someone destroys all your white mana, that card will die because it will be 2 x 0/ 2 x 0.

So Basically I feel the only way edutainment works, is where the new math or language actually enhances the game play. Chinese looks cool so it kind of pays for itself t have a bit of it in a game or book and absorb it slowly. Basically the math works if I find the areas that depend on the understanding of math and numbers to make it fun, and add more to the math.

I realize I enjoy simplifying my ideas to make them more easily actionable for me. I just narrowed it even further so that I just have enchantments that have functions that effect the numbers of any other spell you play. I could even narrow it further and say it’s those new cards called conspiracies, that way they don’t even have to be real cards basically lol. Maybe that’s taking it too far but a conspiracy could say your creatures power = Pw^w and toughness  =  Tw^w, however, that shrinks the number of cards that will be interesting and I feel this shrinks the richness of the mod.

I just realized, the most important thing to me is learning and that if I can’t enjoy my learning (endutainment) that is the most dis-empowering thing. If three years ago when I started learning mandarin, I enjoyed it all the way through until now I would be bilingual. However I was stuck in the situation of not enjoying it and that is why back then, I didn’t succeed. I tried to go to fast, and I tried to put productivity before enjoyment. Languages are not learned by memorizing, they are learned by enjoying things through them. I feel the same thing should be for anything else. It should be through enjoyable use and enjoyable results of that use, that any subject should be learned. Now I see why khats of ajatt(probably entp) had so much success and worked so hard on getting the fun in Japanese. He figured out + learned from antimoon, that enjoyment was key.

I will apply this to my life in general. First of all I will try to focus only on learning things I authentically want to learn, (chinese for example), then I will focus on making it fun if it isn’t already. For chinese I think the best way is through tumblr, characterize, I want to start using a comic book method soon, and learning and creating funny stories to learn the hanzi(I will check out koohi and make a deck of only very funny stories and learn  them maybe just 10 a day, and whatever ones I get tired of get deleted. Its fun first. I may use some of my own stories if they are funny enough that I would share them with other people, and maybe I will share them which will make them stick even better. I’ll focus on enjoyable learning of what I want to learn, first. Maybe through in a mtg mod or something else if I get a itch to revolutionize learning for myself ect.

 

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