I like Strategy games. I get quite addicted quite easily and so I tend to keep wellll away form them. I recently got the itch again, like an ex-smoker and started to look into playing the old ones on my mac via VMWare.
The first thing I found was Master of Orion II, which I played for a night and realised that its actually quite a mundane game, but never the less you find yourself there for hours hitting the “Next turn” button to see if anything you have planned to build has finished, and how much cash you have. Its all virtual and the moment you step away your over it but once your in, your hooked.
I was thinking that this type of addiction would be very handy if you could apply it to more productive tasks like learning. So I’m trying to figure out what the key things are that make strategy games addictive.
I’ve written about games and learning before but not in relation to strategy games which I think would actually be better suited to the task of learning.
Off the top of my head:
- Visual representation of how “mighty” you are. This is usually in the form of a city picture that shows the different things you have build. Or in RPG its a visual indication of the things you have acquired.
- Research new technology’s, which lets you build new buildings, equipment, troops. Basiclly lets you do new things the more you research. This Will be quite easy to adapt to language acquisition, say you learn new vocab which you can then use in building new sentences etc.
- Gather resources from the terrain. Which gives you money and fuel to drive your army’s, economy, etc. I figure its some sort of primal instinct to gather and collect.
- Measurement of “level” of experience. The more you play the higher the level gets and the more things you can do or the more privileges you have.
- Nearly all have some sort of cash money which is like liquid assets. Usually what you can buy with it is engineered so that it coincides with your level, thus the more experience you have the richer you are and the deadlier the weapons at your disposal
- Competition. Some strategy games have combat of some sort which can be what the whole game is about (i.e. Rel Time Strategy games), to simple “My army is bigger than yours so I win” and you just get a battle result. This is more interesting when competing with other people and give you a direct way to interact with humans and not just computers.
I have also always wanted to write a computer game :)