Nowadays, it’s not just gaming rivals that are taking a leaf from the Warcraft-model. It seems governments as well are increasingly showing interest in online games and the MMOs. If you’ll recall even Michelle Obama addressed the issue of childhood obesity via the Game Developers Conference last March. (The First Lady also promised US$40 000, as sweetener, to game makers who’d like to help)
AND NOW Singapore is aboard the online gaming wagon with the launch of a new MMO-game a la World of Warcraft. Replacing fantasy with facts, World of Temasek, which is set in 14th century Singapore, gets players hunting for ‘real’ historical artifacts that can be found in museums locally.
Players are rewarded with points and move up levels by collecting items and completing quests, just as they are in the fictional gaming world. And for a fee, the game allows teachers to customise their students quests – or ‘assignment templates’ -according to their curriculum.
Players’ avatars can be dressed as monks, warriors or foreign merchants and can select from the races and languages present in Singapore at the time. Right-clicking on an item reveals its history, in pictures and text, and shows where it can be found in the museum where it is displayed.
This game is part of a new education model where fun environments are underpinned by structured learning, according to co- creator Chris Jones (Magma Studios). “It’s the Discovery Channel infotainment model, where students are impelled rather than compelled to learn.”
(BTW The island-state was known as Temasek to locals back in the 14th century. It’s got nothing to do with the investment company of the same name)