For the Spring Teacher Camp I’m attending through 3D GameLab, I was reintroduced to one of my old favorite computer games from when I was a kid — “Zork!” Thinking about the kind of games I play now (mostly Words With Friends, Angry Birds, etc.), it was fun to think about the early days of these computer games when Zork was really all we had! Until I started playing it again, I had forgotten how much fun it was to explore and wonder what was around the next corner, or what objects I could grab to help me get through that stupid forest. If I never see another grue again, it will be too soon!
I also had the opportunity to play “Peasant’s Quest,” created by the guys responsible for Homestar Runner — moving on into the college favorites with the Strong Bad Emails. It’s a game that pokes fun at the early graphic/text adventure games. (I admit, I never remember needing to “deploy baby” and “take meatball sub” as one of the commands in Zork.) Even though the requirement for the class was to play for a minimum of 20 minutes, I played through the entire game.
I could definitely see using something like “Peasant’s Quest” and “Zork” in my Language Arts classes. By virtue of being text-based games and having a story with choices that need to be made by the player to advance that story, this would blend perfectly into lessons and units that I have taught before related to reading strategies and problem solving. While I would definitely offer some help to the students — there are times where the game-play could be overly frustrating for a modern gamer, I feel — this would be a fun and valuable way to have the students struggle through a problem until they find a solution.
I’m certainly looking forward to whatever games 3D GameLab has for me next. I never played World of Warcraft, but thanks to this Teacher Camp, I’ve downloaded and started getting into the free starter version. I can see how that would be used as part of the Language Arts curriculum too, which I know is already being done through the “WoW in School” project by Lucas Gillispie.