Every Day the Same Dream by Paolo Pedercini

Every Day the Same Dream is a beautiful independent game from Paolo Pedercini as an entry to the Experimental Gameplay Project. Illustrating the tedium of routine office work, the game allows few interactions – for example exchanging brief words with your indifferent wife, a homeless man, the elevator operator. You can only ‘win’ the game by searching out the few ways to break the routine of everyday working life. It’s bleak and often tedious – and it’s one of the most consistent and affecting games I’ve played in a long time.

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Scribblenauts as classroom literacy aid

There’s an interview on Kotaku today with Scribblenauts creator Jeremiah Slaczka. The Nintendo DS title was released in September 2009 and, although controls and interface were often criticized, critics applauded the open-ended gameplay. Puzzles within the game can be solved by typing nouns on the onscreen keyboard – if the object is stored in the game’s 22,800-word database it will appear and may be used to solve the puzzle. As an example, pre-release hype centred around one player’s ability to solve a puzzle involving robot zombies by conjuring up a time machine, traveling back in time to collect a dinosaur and then riding atop the dinosaur to attack the zombies.

The Kotaku article relates Slaczka’s views about the application of the game as an educational tool:

One mother emailed the developer to tell how she bought the game for her son who was having difficulty in school learning to read and write. The woman gave the child a game along with a cheat sheet of ten words for him to try out in the game.

“He learned how to spell those words,” he said, “and now she said he’s up to two full pages of words that he can spell and understand which I thought was a really awesome story. “

While Slaczka acknowledges that the game can be used to enhance spelling and vocabulary, he’s hesitant to stress this potential:

“It has inherent educational potential, but it was never designed with an educational slant in mind,” he said. “It was a positive byproduct more than anything else. “

In appears that Slaczka is partly wary of labeling the game as an educational title because it may hurt sales, such is the stigma surrounding ‘edutainment’. However, Scribblenauts can certainly be added to the list of games (particularly Nintendo DS games) that can be used within the classroom to engage pupils in education.

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Audio-only action game simulates blindness

Over at Eurogamer there’s a report on Danish developer PortaPlay’s action-adventure that simulates blindness using audio and no graphics.

It’s set in a semi-factual WWII era where the player is an allied spy dropped behind enemy lines to gather intelligence on a secret German doomsday weapon. The player is blinded during the intro and the rest of the game takes place in complete darkness.

As well as simulating blindness for non-blind players, PortaPlay creative thinker Hans von Knut hopes that the realistic audio environments delivered through in-ear headphones will allow blind players to play the game successfully.

The game has combat, stealth, dialogue and puzzles, and will also feature multiplayer so blind people can play against each other in the same way non-visually-impaired gamers do.

The game is being funded by the film institute Danish Screen, but a release date has not yet been announced.

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