Now and then, as a passionate video gamer, you sit in front of the screen and immerse yourself so deeply in a game world that you think about it long after you shut down your computer. Sometimes you dwell on a first class story and on other occasions you add up the next MMORPG build in your head. However, the best memories are formed when you have the impression that you are really learning something during the game session. More and more video games are therefore taking the path of shallow edutainment, with the help of which even the surface of complex issues can be scratched. It is not uncommon for the player to be ambitious to fight his way a little deeper into these areas of knowledge. At this point we would like to introduce you to some of the best games that either prepare their knowledge transfer well – or hide them so cleverly that the player hardly notices that he is collecting a bite of knowledge after the other. By the way, you won't find real "learning games" on this list, because ironically these are often very cumbersome in their knowledge transfer.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/09/Animal_Crossing_01-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Animal Crossing: New Horizons is not an educational game in itself, but it always supplies the player again with interesting little snippets of knowledge that can be easily consumed.
A bite of knowledge, in bite-sized pieces please
There are three main approaches to interlinking game mechanics, story and knowledge in an entertaining way: First and foremost, conveying small bites of trivial information, which is deposited in the subconscious by itself, is the most important. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the current master of this variant, because here the player gradually receives more and more interesting bits of knowledge. Caught a fish? Take it to Eugen the Museum Owl and you will learn an interesting fact or two about the animal. Did you catch one of the seasonally limited cicadas? Great, then you can find out from Eugen why the insects have a seventeen-year life cycle. The same applies to dinosaurs, from whose fossils you can gradually assemble complete skeletons in the museum.
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This kind of knowledge transfer will not turn you into a biologist or archaeologist overnight – however, the tiny snippets of information are factually absolutely correct and available in such a large number that one or two bits of knowledge inevitably get stuck in your subconscious. Sure, for this principle to work, the player actually has to read the text without clicking through the conversation in a bored way. In addition, it is possible to give away a bunch of animals without seeing a single line of information. In this case, however, that is purely on purpose, because even if interested players can pick up a lot of trivial snippets of knowledge, the transfer of knowledge is not the focus here. Relax and lean back, because some information will stick one way or another. And Animal Crossing doesn't want to achieve more.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/09/Green_Hell_01-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Green Hell teaches you a lot of useful information about survival in the wild. As always, you are not an expert afterwards – but the information itself is correct.
Source: Creepy Jar
Help yourself to the all-you-can-eat buffet of knowledge
The second major approach is imparting knowledge, which is either the focus of the gameplay, or lets all justifications go and simply says to the player: "You want to learn? Then press this button and off you go." An example of the latter is the ingenious Discovery Tour offered in the new Assassin's Creed parts. An interactive "museum mode", in which the player moves through antiquity with his avatar and can activate a guided tour at interesting points, is interesting even for users who normally have nothing to do with video games. The combination of moving through a living, breathing world and a traditional museum tour creates very colorful memories that are relatively easy to call up when needed. In comparison, the knowledge that is gained from an actual museum is difficult to bring back to the surface. Attention, important: This is only about the construction of memories, as well as the transfer and retrieval of knowledge. If you have the opportunity to attend a real museum tour, please take this chance. Standing in front of an artifact in person is always a great experience!
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The other variant of this comprehensive knowledge buffet is a bit more complex and usually appeals to hardcore players who want to eat their way into new systems over a long period of time. Here the knowledge transfer is inserted directly into the gameplay, so that the player can only really make progress if he sits on his butt and actively learns. In the Permadeath mechanic simulator "My Summer Car" you enter a garage where your "Satsuma" is waiting for you. You will not receive a tutorial or help. Have fun with the realistic assembly of your car. The vehicle is based on the old 1973 Datsun 100A, including the engine structure and almost all screw connections. Of course you won't be able to put together a real Datsun after completing your summer car, because reality looks a lot more complicated – what you will very well learn, however, is the location of hundreds of individual parts and the almost complete assembly of the engine. My Summer Car is far from being a training simulator. But that doesn't mean you won't learn anything from it.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/09/Summer_Car_01-pc-games.jpg" alt = "You haven't dealt with motors yet? Then it's time: Your Satsuma in My Summer Car is a large three-dimensional puzzle that is very realistic.
Source: Amistech Games
Learn or die
It is similar with the survival simulator "Green Hell", which you have to endure an involuntary long-term vacation in the Amazon. Instead of satisfying the usual greedy survival ads, however, Green Hell wants you to take a closer look at the human body: the abundant wildlife means that proteins are in abundance, for example, but edible fats and carbohydrates are few and far between. Those who don't sleep are more prone to exhaustion and illness. And the most important thing: For God's sake, boil your water and stay away from standing pools. You're losing blood – have you checked your arms and legs? Aha, a leech. Have you taken care of your wound? Do you have enough antiseptic plants? Have you checked all the traps and set up your baptismal catchers? The sheer amount of knowledge that the player needs to soak up within a few hours is overwhelming.
Of course, in real life you don't have a practical survival clock that shows you your exact carbohydrate levels. In general, however, with Green Hell you get an amazingly good survival guide for staying in a real rainforest. This principle of imparting knowledge is brute, but it creates memories that you can access very easily and in seconds because you are practically exposing yourself to a playful intensive course. Just as core gamers can pray down their World of Warcraft skill rotation even if you wake them up in the middle of the night, games of this kind teach you to reliably retrieve the stored information even in stressful situations. This brings us to the third way of imparting knowledge through play.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/09/Thrill_of_The_Fight_01-pc-games.jpg" alt = "No pretty comic graphics, no big gimmicks: Thrill of the Fight wants VR -Make enthusiasts sweat and improve your boxing technique, nothing more, nothing less.
Source: Sealost Interactive LLC
Faster, smarter and more resilient
The third and most intense way of imparting knowledge does not shovel hard knowledge into your head, but teaches you concentration, stress resistance and physical skills. A good example of this is, for example, the "Overcooked" series, in which the beauty of clear management chains and orderly work processes opens up to you. Anyone who consults with their three friends and appoints someone as head chef will have significantly fewer problems than four individual chefs who only work together by chance. In "Keep talking and nobody explodes", you again learn to work efficiently under time pressure and to communicate clearly. Especially the VR version of the bomb defusing simulator gets your pulse racing. At higher levels of difficulty, a cool head and precise language are worth their weight in gold.
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In the area of virtual reality there are even games that not only make you sweat – they teach you physical skills and keep you in top shape. For example, the professional welterweight boxer Tamuka Mucha uses the VR game "Thrill of the Fight" to stay in shape during the Covid-19 pandemic. In contrast to titles like "Creed: Rise to Glory" or "Knockout League", Thrill of the Fight does not want to entertain its player with colorful comic graphics, but rather offer a boxing experience that is as realistic as possible. To put it bluntly: You won't become a boxer even with extensive VR training, you have to put yourself physically in the ring for that. But what you can very well train is your speed strength, endurance and technique. It has long been proven that regular shadow boxing works wonders for your own training success and performance in the ring – the whole thing can be combined with an actual "shadow opponent", as Tamuka Mucha notes, the best boxing training you can do in your own four walls can get.
In which game did you learn historical facts or interesting trivial knowledge – and were you surprised afterwards or did you actively absorb the knowledge? We are excited!
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