Long long time ago I wrote a blog post about video games and learning. It was an article about how the techniques used in computer game design can be used applied in real life to produce learning at a deep level. The underlying principle in video game design is called Inductive Chaining – a method in which the participant is given a series of problems and tools to solve those problems. As they solve each problem, the subsequent problems become harder, but at the same time the tools provided also improve in sophistication there by introducing novel application of those tools. This process requires the participant to actively engage with problem and apply the tools creatively to reach te solution. No problem is entirely similar to another problem, but each problem is a linear progression from its predecessors. This way of learning has been proven effective in many studies and has been implemented in Project Euler.
Ok, the long recap is basically my intro for one the best games I have ever played. I have eyed Portal 2 for a while now – the game was released in April, 2011 – and this weekend I finally got it at a great deal. Of course, the worth of a game is not the price you paid for it, but the amount of tim you spend on it. And by that standard this game has exceeded my best estimation by miles.
Portal 2 is completely different most of the games out there because the game play is not about shooting, or open world role-playing or racing or any of the other standard genres. In Portal 2, you go through a barrage of puzzles, and that’s it. There are no wild chases, sweeping cinematography scenes, or points for accomplishing tasks. Here you – or your character to be correct – has to solve spatial puzzles – moving objects and pressing button – to advance from one section to another all in hopes of getting out of a computer manipulated factory. Oh, and you have this little thing called a Portal Gun that creates, um, Portals, in certain surfaces using which can move from one place to another to solve the puzzles. Once you start playing the game, if you are not overwhelmed by its awesomeness, then you don’t have pulse.
A typical section of Portal 2, goes like this emotionally.
‘Oh this one seems easy’
‘ok, it’s a little tricky.’
‘hmm, may be I should try this’
‘how come that did not work?’
‘there is no way this can be solved’
‘obviously there has to be some hack for this, coz this is impossible’
‘oh wait, may be if i do this’
‘YES… Who’s the boss here!!’
and this goes on and on for hours.
If you are into games, makes sure you get your hands on Portal 2. I am only half way through the game, and I am already thinking about playing it for the second time.
Warning: There will be a lot of head scratching, nail-biting and hair pulling while playing in the game. I take no responsibility if you ended up without hair or nails or your head after playing this game.
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I am on a blog-a-day-for-a-year crusade. Keep me motivated with your comments. Or tell me how to prepare for New York winter.