1 May 2008
Apparently NASA is looking to reach out to the video game generation by developing it’s own Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO). I think this a fantastic idea – if it’s done well. I’ve played many a video game in my day and I can vouch for their educational potential. I learned loads about ancient and medieval history from the Age of Empires games, and Warcraft and Starcraft taught me more than a few vocab words (zealot, immolation, carapace, etc.).
It makes a lot of sense to aim your message where kids are already spending their time rather than trying to divert them from things they would rather be doing. The military has already used this strategy with great success in their “America’s Army” games.
I’m impressed that NASA is trying to do this, and I really hope it succeeds. I’m skeptical though. I’ve seen a lot of educational games (and websites) that are utterly terrible because they focus too much on being educational and not enough on being interesting and captivating.
If NASA can find some skilled game developers who know how to use the video game medium to tell a gripping story that people will want to be a part of, I think this will go far.