GBL MOOC – Week 1: Game Based Learning/Game principles: Serious Games (Darfur is dying)

Darfur is Dying - Start
This post documents my thoughts on Darfur is Dying as part of the Week 1 activities research into Serious Games for the Games Based Learning (GBL) MOOC.

The game 
Darfur is Dying – http://www.darfurisdying.com

What is it?
Darfur is Dying is mtvU’s Darfur refugee game for change that “provides a window into the experience of the 2.5 million refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. Players must keep their refugee camp functioning in the face of possible attack by Janjaweed militias. Players can also learn more about the genocide in Darfur that has taken the lives of 400,000 people, and find ways to get involved to help stop this human rights and humanitarian crisis.”

Audience

General/Secondary/University students.

Why so Serious (Game)?
To successfully meet the challenge of maintaining the function of a refugee camp under the threat of possible attack by Janjaweed militias, the player needs to:

  • obtain food
  • build shelters
  • collect water
  • stay healthy.

Game mechanics

Darfur is Dying makes use of:

Learning outcomes
A game that deals with conflict and civil unrest clearly has no winner. Darfur is dying provides an insight into the life of people living in the Darfur region of Western Sudan during the civil war in Darfur. Throughout the game the player is prompted with education points and information on how they can help stop the crisis in Darfur. This game is successful in creating an awareness and reaction to a situation which would not normally receive much attention from mainstream media.

GBL MOOC – Week 1: Game Based Learning/Game principles: Serious Games (Viking Quest)

Viking Quest - Splash screen
Viking Quest is an adventure game produced by BBC History.

This post documents my thoughts on Viking Quest as part of the Week 1 activities and research into Serious Games for the Games Based Learning (GBL) MOOC.

The game 
Viking Quest – http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/games/viking_quest/

What is it?
Viking Quest is an adventure game produced by BBC history. The player is placed in the role of a viking who has been issued a challenge by their chief. The challenge is to travel to a distant land, loot a monastery and then return to Norway with the treasure.

Audience
General/Primary and Secondary school

Why so Serious (Game)?
To successfully meet the challenge set by the Viking chief, the player needs to:

  • determine if they should borrow money to fund their quest
  • choose a location to build their longship
  • select a longship that is suitable for their journey
  • choose crew members
  • select a route across the North Sea
  • determine if they should burn the monastery.

Game mechanics
Viking Quest features:

Learning outcomes
Viking Quest provides an overview of the type of activities (Sailing, looting, ship building), technology/transport (Longships, weapons), commerce (Loans/Borrowing money, slavery), belief systems (Casting runes – Consulting the Gods, Christianity), settlements (Froya, Strandebarm, Kaupang) established by Viking culture.

Without knowing the scope/audience for Viking Quest, (but knowing that it was produced by BBC History) I think it’s reasonable to assume that the broad overview of Viking Culture presented in the game was the intended learning outcome. I also think it’s reasonable to assume that Viking Quest may be part of a larger and perhaps more detailed learning/educational resource on Viking culture and could be regarded as complementary material.