Apparently – and excuse me as I adjust my Grumpy Old Man hat – you can now play video games as part of a school curriculum.
Sure, that school is in Norway, where they are progressive and cooler than actual snow (of which they have plenty), but it’s a sign that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, even though things like global warming and Donald Trump are infinitely more indicative of that. Let’s all just keep getting angry at video games, much like cavemen were scared of fire back when that was all the rage.
Okay, time to take off the Grumpy Old Man hat. It makes me cranky.
One pioneering Norwegian high school has introduced an elective eSports course as part of its curriculum. But I ask: why stop there? Imagine a future where children are educated solely by video games.
But what would the curriculum look like? If we are going to teach through games, we’d better do it right. So, here I present my plan for the world’s first video game school.
There is no greater maths professor in the real or virtual world than Doctor Kawashima from Nintendo’s Brain Training. Not only is he someone that makes maths fun – mostly by judging your brain to be that of a middle-aged dog rather than a 15-year-old kid – but he’s also an assist trophy in Smash Bros, which means he can take you out if you don’t do your homework. And he will.
So long as you don’t care too much about actual, factual history and you’re okay with learning about how one bunch of people were responsible for basically everything good in history, then you’ll love the Assassin’s Creed History module. Remember, pupils: if you always put “it was all the Templar’s fault” then you’re almost certain to ace your exams.
All that boring New Testament stuff tends to weigh you down after a while. It’s all so… nice. You liked the Old Testament way more, with bits about God’s Wrath and fire raining down from the skies. Vengeful God was much more Hollywood. Well, good news: your RE teacher has been replaced with Bayonetta. She’s tall, scary, and she beats up Old Testament angels for a living. That’s what I go to school for.
Everyone hates PE, but everyone loves Wii Fit! All you need is your gym kit, extra socks, a towel, a Wii, a balance board, and one Wii remote per person. Easy, right? But if you do still loathe PE as much as ever… well, now you have more things to conveniently “forget”.
Where’s the fun in learning grammar if you can’t go out and use it in the real world to make dinosaurs appear out of thin air? There is none, so that’s why English would be about playing Scribblenauts. Students would learn how to use verbs, nouns and adjectives as they mine Scribblenauts’ impressively vast dictionary in order to solve the series of puzzles. It’s the only time in their lives where they’ll be rewarded for writing rude words.
When it comes to physics, who better to teach it than Portal’s no-nonsense GLaDOS? Not only is she ridiculously intelligent, her sarcastic wit is a class apart – and for those reasons I would prescribe Portal 2 for all science students. It’s also a good game for teaching children how to work together and, more importantly, how people will inevitably let them down.
I’d also recommend Spore for educating children about evolution and, again, how life is full of disappointments.
Speaking from experience, my Food Tech lessons always seemed to be less “let’s make something cool, ambitious and actually worth eating” and more “make a cake, or whatever, I don’t care”. Cooking Mama would never let you down in such a way. She’s perky, encouraging, and does everything step-by-step so you never get lost. You might actually learn something from her.
There aren’t many games where you can learn geography without subsequently declaring it as yours, but Civilisation is a game that takes it one step further: You discover land and other tribes, and then re-create it as your own weird, messed up version of Earth where a hyper-aggressive Gandhi was the world’s first superpower. Learning is fun!
And there you have it. If you are on some kind of school board and you would like to buy my ideas off me for lots of money, please contact my editor.