Matthew Weise spoke at GDC this past March about using commercial off the shelf (COTS) games for education. Weise created the game Revolution, while he was at MIT. I spoke in detail with Matt after GDC last month about his experience and insights for others looking to create educational games.
Revolution - Reflections from Matthew Weise
The first part of the interview focused on his design and creation of the game.
The main goal of the project was to create a believable simulation of colonial Williamsburg. Learning in the game did not come as a result of packaged content delivered in the game, it came through playing. Video games help teach history, not as a narrative, but as a process.The second part of the interview covers the hurdles and challenges they encountered using a COTS game engine. The final part of the interview includes Matt's philosophy on educational games:
Weise cautioned not to make video games the “medicine in the apple sauce.”Matt also gave some tips for others looking to get started, including let the game engine help dictate the learning objectives and give the project time.
Matt's comments tie in nicely to the previous discussions from January on this site. You can view Matthew Weise's powerpoint slides from GDC... here.