Demon’s Souls: a model for online educational games?

Demon's SoulsYou may not have heard of the PS3-exclusive game Demon’s Souls yet, as it’s currently available only in Asia. The game is a hardcore dungeon crawler RPG, and while generally well-received (rapturously so on some gaming forums), the online component has attracted particular attention. It appears to be a peculiar mix of single- and multi-player elements; when adventuring alone you may find other players moving in and out of your game. These players may be rivals aiming to steal your souls (the game’s currency), or may arrive within your game to signpost a safe path through the dungeon’s traps. Bloodstains indicate areas where players have perished, and players can also leave messages littered around the dungeons to warn of impending perils.

While the game has little content of direct interest to educators, the online multi-player approach is a potential model for educational content. The principle of navigating a 3D space filled with obstacles (which could be tests, questions, puzzles of any nature) has been attempted before in educational games – but the added ability to leave advisory messages, hints and tips for other players in a persistent online space could be rich with possibilities for learning and for improving communication skills.

See Eurogamer’s review of Demon’s Souls, which is currently available only on import from Asia.

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