A pair of video game developers has leveraged the power of the iPad to deliver a fun and – don’t tell them – educational experience for adventure-seeking kids. Be warned, though: This isn’t your parents’ educational app. “Pirates, the BookGame” blends elements of action video games with traditional educational games, without being boring. (www.piratesbookgame.com).
Players spend part of the game defeating enemies as the pirate character Jack isKull. Expect plenty of running, jumping, shooting and dodging – all in a day’s work for a pirate. The remainder of the game consists of interactive learning elements, including trivia questions, dealing with notorious pirates. The developers hope to appeal to the “edgy” side of kids’ natures. This is no geeky game, no sir.
The educational aspect of “Pirates, the BookGame” figures to be a major selling point with parents and educators. The fun and familiar video game environment will prime children to actively engage with the text and content. They will no doubt be thrilled and amazed with the gruesome histories of some of the world’s most famous and feared pirates.
Like any classic video game, the lead character, Jack isKull, is highly goal oriented. There’s even a prize for players who successfully conquer all 12 levels of the game: a free download of the associated eBook. The eBook includes all the text and artwork from within the game. Ideally, completion of “Pirates, the BookGame” (designed for kids aged 7 to 15) will make readers out of kids who perhaps never liked reading.
“When people think of educational games, they naturally think of math, science and history games,” said Alex Lamikiz, one of the game’s principal developers. “We imagined ‘Pirates, the BookGame’ as a much edgier sort of video game. We believe that children can have fun while learning – that education doesn’t have to all about textbooks and quizzes. Our game covers a fascinating topic area that we hope appeals to all kids, not just a select group. We don’t even mind being a little controversial. Pirates were ‘bad boys,’ after all.”