In response to "Anne Died of Dysentery" from The Escapist Forum: I remember playing that game a lot. In the end, I learned how to "cheat" the trading system so that I could get as much as I wanted before I even started the trip.
...and I never stopped looking for ways of beating the system since.
In response to "Piano Wizards" from The Escapist Forum: If only there had been something like this while I was taking piano lessons. Around eight years of my life wasted. I have nothing to show for it. I memorized every song assigned to me and knew it by ear. I can only tell you where middle C is on the piano and on sheet music ... What a waste ... Of course I feel bad about it now. I could be playing decent piano right now if I had only focused, paid attention, etc.
Actually the article makes me want to get the software and try this whole thing over again...
In response to "Playing to the Test" from The Escapist Forum: The question of learning games shouldn't be "how can we make learning fun?" Learning is already fun. It is built into our cognitive systems genetically. The entire school system has unintentionally broken almost everything about our children's natural ability to learn through play. More on this can be found by reading about it from a teacher's perspective at johntaylorgatto.com
Applying this idea to games is simple enough. Our son, Elijah, never sees the inside of the zombie factory, and a large portion of his "learning" comes from PC and console games. A lot of parents wouldn't dream of throwing Homeworld 2 at a four-year-old; however, my theory was that the fun of the game would spur the learning of Homeworld's complex systems like upgrade paths, 3d navigation, tactics, and teamwork. My idea paid off, and Homeworld 2 quickly became one of Elijah's favorite games
My point is that educational games (with a few exceptions) are often the worst possible games to give to your kids. Full of boring drivel, the only thing they teach is a general mistrust of games. Your kids want to play what you're playing, so let them. When my dad showed me how to copy the floppies to get my own StarFlight 2 galaxy going, it was a turning point in my young life and lead me down the road to becoming a lifetime gamer and PC tinkering expert.
In response to "Learning the Gaming Way" from The Escapist Forum: Wow. That was the best article I've read all summer. I know of a couple senators who should give this a gander.
It's so very heartening to hear of Becky's improvement. It's also wonderful to know that the industry is contributing to society in ways not related to money or entertainment.
Between brain games and the Wii's potential for motor function therapy, Nintendo should think about expanding into the medical industry.
Thank you for making my afternoon!