On the importance of failing in educational games.
Nathaniel Dziomba remembers dieing on the Oregon Trail and writes about why failing in video games is so important.
“Part of the huge potential that games have as a teaching aid lies in their ability to allow people to learn things on their own. While there are plenty of games that beat the player over the head with questions and facts, few educational titles simply present a problem and task the users with solving it themselves.
You’re not going to be told how to play The Oregon Trail, you just have to learn. What pace do you go at? How often do you rest? How frequently do you go hunting? I can almost guarantee you’ll fail many, many times before you make it to Oregon, but that’s the idea. While you’re lamenting the death of little Bobbie Jo to dysentery, you’re actually learning about the real Oregon Trail in a way that’s impossible for a textbook to replicate.”