Play Journal 2: Civilization Revolution 2 (For Ipad)
With much of the research pertaining to games in the classroom revolving around Rise of Nations and the Civilization games, I thought it interesting to experience one of these games first hand. I chose Civilization Revolution 2 due to an article recently read that uses Civilization 3 as the media for the study (“Changing the Game: What Happens when Video Games Enter the Classroom?” by Kurt Squire). The game, as most are probably aware, revolves around building historical civilizations and achieving victory in a variety of manners that include everything from warfare to cultural and technological victories. In order to successfully obtain these victories, a certain level of historical prowess is required. To aid in this aspect, there are informational blurbs that the player can access and use to create more well-informed decisions. The game begins slowly with few resources, inhabitants and other conflicts, but it rapidly snowballs and increases in complexity and challenge. The overall feel of the game is very reminiscent to other turn-based strategy games with simply more of an historical approach.
There is the possibility that I just don’t have the patience for video games anymore. I miss the days of Donkey Kong or Super Mario Brothers where anyone with half a brain and 10 minutes can conquer the basic skills to be successful. Through playing Civ 2, I lost interest very early on, primarily due to the overwhelming number of icons, screens, status bars and other distractions from the main conflict of the game. I am certain that with time, the different elements would become second nature. To the novice though, they were a distraction and deterred from the more pleasurable aspects of the game. The historical content that was included was incredibly interesting and provided an interesting context to the overall playing environment. The game, overall, did a great job of blending learning elements with a video game. It is no wonder that educators have turned to the Civilization games to help introduce World History topics. With the proper upfront training, this game style has the potential to be incredibly engaging and informative. In many areas, it reminds me of the classic Oregon Trail video game.
My largest critique of the game revolves around the tutorial. It was far too elementary and left many unanswered questions. So much so, that I aborted the tutorial and took on the game learning through trial and error. Had the tutorial been more effective, I believe the overall experience would have been much more gratifying.
Although, not identical in applications, this game does spark an interest to design using technology. Just as seen in Avan Alex Game’s article pertaining to Gamestar Mechanic, the experience revolves around design. Of course, in Gamestar Mechanic it all about designing games and in Civ 2 it is all about designing civilizations. Nonetheless, both games tap a player’s interest to create something new. This design element provides the opportunity for autonomy which is crucial in game play. Civilization 2 has the potential to be a phenomenal resource in the World History classroom with the caveat that it will be an enormous investment in time for students to get up to speed and to start acquiring knowledge through the game.