Multiplication games will save the world. Well, not JUST multiplication games, but educational games in general. Remember that scene from The Matrix where Trinity learns how to fly a helicopter in 5 seconds flat by using a perfect virtual simulator? Well, it might take more than 5 seconds, but the technology for teaching people in such an immersive, effective environment already exists—we just don’t take advantage of it.
As a civilization, we’ll spend billions and billions to immerse kids in all kinds of unbelievably elaborate environments with no purpose whatsoever. Just imagine what would happen if we invested a billion dollars into the world’s greatest math game instead of Grand Theft Auto. Instead of accomplishing diddly-squat , we would have created a nation of kids who know math! Millions of kids could be significantly smarter and more confident. We have the technology. We’re already spending the dollars. We just need to redirect it into more beneficial products.
“Can’t be done,” some people will say. Ridiculous. We’ve already proved it can be done with our multiplication game, Timez Attack. It takes time and effort, but obviously you can make an educational game just as engaging as an entertainment-only game if you really want to. In fact, educational games can be even more entertaining because they include real achievement. Think about it–as enjoyable as Madden NFL is, it’s still not as entertaining as the real thing.
Even if you don’t buy that argument, educational games have another built-in advantage. The kids already HAVE to learn this stuff. They can either do it in a boring, painful, old-school way, or they can do it in a high-end, world-class video game. The “shooting fish in a barrel” analogy comes to mind when you think about such an easy decision.
So what’s stopping us? Well, there’s the “Edutainment” cynicism accumulated from a generation or two of pathetic educational software, parental apathy, the fragmented nature of the school system, and the decidedly low-tech culture at the huge educational publishing houses. But in the end, it’s just dollars. The gaming industry just needs to realize what a massive, untapped market educational games represent. Once they realize what a gold mine they’re sitting on, we’ll finally see an educational revolution equal in scope to the industrial revolution.
It’s going to happen sooner or later. Let’s get with the program and make it sooner.