10 Gaming Genres To Adapt In Class

Here’s a brief description of ten gaming genres and some tips on how they can be used in the classroom.  All these games were chosen because they are popular with young language learners, engaging and fun.  You can read lesson ideas and plans on this blog by following the links.

1  Point and click


These games rely on you moving the cursor around the screen and clicking the mouse.  By printing off a written walkthrough or by using a video walkthrough, a large variety of language activities can be generated.   Try a relay dictation using either a written or video walkthrough or simply use either of them yourself to dictate game play.  Alternatively check out these games – the anti-bullying Dixie the Nerd, a selection of ten point-and-click games and their walkthroughs or Windosill.

2 Escape the room

A sub genre of point and click games where typically you have to find and possibly combine objects in a room or house to get out through a locked door.  As previously mentioned above, with a written walkthrough or a video walkthrough a large variety of language activities can be generated.  You could also get learners to write out their own walkthroughs as they play.  Alternatively check out these games – MOTAS, Kitchen Escape or the scary reader for the the zombie game I Remain.

3 Arcade

Arcade games generally rely on reaction speeds rather than logic or puzzle solving skills. Passing to the next stage usually means completing a simple task within a specific time limit. The next stage and subsequent stages usually require the player to complete the same task but with an increasing complexity or in a faster time. Language generated tends to be quite simple and repetitive.  Some of these games are great for drilling the language of directions (pacman), colours (sveerz) and spelling (Alphaattack and Type ’em up).

4. Puzzle Games

These games tend to be quite abstract and typically involve arranging geometric forms to achieve a goal (e.g. Tetris). Puzzles usually involve solving rather simple problems. Problem solving games generally test a players awareness of patterns and/ or short term memory.  Language generated tends to be isolated to individual language items such as object vocabulary, instructions and prepositions.  Puzzle games include spookymatch or Orbox.  They are great games to play as a reward for good work or behaviour as they are generally over very quickly or can be paused and returned to later.

5 Strategy Games

This is a game in which the gamer is presented with a number of possible choices in game play which will effect how they progress in the game. Try the games stop disasters, 3rd world farmer or Age of Empires.  The first two provide a context for some interesting discussions when used in a classroom while the last one takes place over a longer time frame and provides writing practice and an opportunity for learners to report on the game and progress in class time.

6 Adventure Games

Adventure games are a sub genre of point and click games but usually differ in that the game has got strong narrative elements.  There is usually a central character, a storyline, objectives to be achieved, an enemy and an outcome at the end.  Games covered in this genre on this blog include Morningstar (a sci-fi story), The Miller Estate (a spooky mystery), Hetherdale ( a jungle adventure) and Avalon (a fantasy text based adventure game) to name just four.

Casual Games

These games are aimed at a mass audience of people who tend to play games on a casual basis.  These games have been brought into the news recently with their rise in popularity on social network sites such as facebook.  Games such as farmville, mafia wars, scrabble like game, word games and puzzles can all be included in this genre.  Why not ask your learners if they play any and if they play any in common then get them to describe and compare their game playing.  Here’s a list of 10 casual games on facebook.

8 Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs)

Is a computer role playing genre in which a massive number of players interact with one another within a fictional virtual world.  The player assumes the role and takes control of the actions of a fictional character.  There are a lot of MMORPGs out there but one we have looked at already on this blog is Astro Empires.  The most famous MMORPG is probably World of Warcraft.

9 Alternate Reality Games

Sometimes abbreviated to an ARG.  These games consist of an interactive narrative that is based in the real world.  Typically they often use multiple media and game elements, to establish a narrative that the gamer can affect by either contributing ideas or taking actions.  Two ARGs we’ve already looked at on this blog were Smokescreen and Urgent Evoke.  We have also done a spotlight on ARG developer Jane McGonigal.

10 Virtual Worlds

This is a computer based simulated environment which has a strong online community element.  A virtual world such as second life has generated a lot of interest in education.   Here is a post we did on a Robin Hood learning Quest in Second Life.

Posted on May 13, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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