Play Journals / Q-Bert / Donkey Kong / Super Mario Bros / Sonic The Hedgehog /

Q-Bert:

http://www.smashing.com/qbert/

The interface of the game is well organized, all the elements are visible and players can easily understand wich is the goal of the game by reading the instructions at the beginning of it. The character can jump for the pyramid at the center of the screen, by moving to the front, the sides and turn in reverse. The new thing is, that the game offers a scenario with perspective and a background that affects the gameplay.

The game mechanic is complex, players have to paint the cubes in the pyramid, being aware of the others characters (enemies), being aware to not fall to the background, and using the circular platform to clean the space of enemies. But, in my opinion, the most difficult learning in the game is to use the control at the beginning was very complicated coordinate my hand with the control and being aware of the enemies at the same time.

I had not played this game before, this was my first time playing it, so, was a little frustrated at the beginning of it. I wonder if the sensation of the control is different with the original joystick. On the other hand, I think that the game is very engaging to teach shapes, perspective, and visual literacy in schools, as well as, visual effects and the way that eyes decode patters in a gestaltic way. Sometimes the effect of perspective gives a 3D effect that cheats the human perception.

Donkey Kong:

http://www.smashing.com/donkeykong/#

The first thing that is attractive in Donkey Kong is the design of the characters and how the developers created a story with few elements, which allows understand the interface and the game mechanic in a playful way. Players know since the beginning that the goal is to rescue the girl in the top of the “building”, as well as, to be aware of the distractors and enemies that appear in the path. The idea is to use diverse elements, such as using the stairs to reach the top of the building, hammers to hit the enemies and clear the path.

The game mechanic is more challenging and engaging that other games of the same period; a new stage offers new combinations of goals and new interactions with objects, although, the main goal is to rescue the girl, the others small goals such as, walking in the “moving floor” toward the stair without be touched for the flame, offers challenges that need to be resolved fast and in a strategic way. In addition, the mechanic offers different ways to resolve a situation, depending of the gamer strategy to solve the problem.

In my opinion, the strategic approach to solve a problem is content that can teach by using this game in educational environments, because one stage could be resolved in different way by two students. By using the game, students can develop strategical thinking as well as oral skills to explain those strategies. Those skills can be used then, in academic settings.

Super Mario Bros:

http://www.smashing.com/mario/#

The first thought after to play Super Mario Bros is about how the music is tied to the landscape, outside and inside the pipes, and how the music affects the mood of the player and adds more perceptual clues to the gameplay. Also, Mario offers the experience to be in a new world with diverse features, which foster different approaches to reach a goal inside a goal. Mario is about exploring and find secret in this world; the possibility to create auto-challenges beyond the main goal.

The game mechanic is more exploratory, Mario can jump, break brickwork, grow, be small and so on, all those characteristics allow the player reach different goals according to the landscape displayed in each stage. I think that this relation between the landscape, the goals, and the diverse forms that Mario is able to have, offered a new experience in how to design the mechanic of games in that historical moment.

The complexity of Mario Bros offers various learning challenges, but is this case the learning is related to how to explore and move on in the game system. Maybe there are some actions related to the physical sciences that can be explored in the game or how to use maps. Until now the most vivid memory about how to use Mario features in educational environments are related to music, I remember that various of my classmates in primary school (also high school) wanted to learn how to play the music of the game on flute.

Sonic The Hedgehog:

http://www.smashing.com/sonic/#

This was my first time playing this game and I have to say that is a very fast game. Is a little difficult to figure out what is the direction that the player has to take at the beginning, and there is not time to explore the landscape like in Mario. The interface is clear, the position of score, time, and rings are in the top left, and the lives of Sonic, below to the left. So the major part of the screen shows the landscape background, and is used to play.

I think that the mechanic of the game is related to the ability of Sonic to run fast, all in the game is the movement, the main character moves fast, the landscape moves also. So, the goal is to find the correct path fast, without losing rings, and by controlling all the movement that occurs at the same time. In addition, the main characteristic of Sonic is be fast; condition that is transmitted to the gamers by generating the same sensation on the gameplay. Thus, in my view, the main aim is move and think fast in order to reach the goal.

This is another game in which is difficult to tie curriculum contents. The game is fast and based on the competition with the game system. The learning process is about how to use the game features in the system, also is difficult do a deep exploration of the game world and think in a deeper way the strategies used to reach the goal. This is a game in which, players need higher motor skills, maybe that is a learning field to explore.

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