A game is a controlled form of play, normally undertaken for fun or entertainment, and at times used as a teaching tool. Games are different from homework, which is normally performed for monetary remuneration, and from fine arts, which is typically an expression of personal or aesthetic elements. Educational games teach young children essential life skills by engaging with real world examples. Learning must begin in the early years of a child’s life, from conception to toddlerhood. A preschooler is unable to learn without learning the basic skills of successful living. In this article we will consider how we can use educational games to encourage the beginnings of this crucial childhood skill.
Chris Crawford was commissioned by Hasbro to create a computer game called Nautilus. It was one of their earliest educational computer games, and is still being used today. Nautilus was a very complex board game which required mathematical calculation to solve. It became an instant hit when it was released, and Hasbro would later commission other designers to make similar but much easier games. Chris Crawford’s work was included in many of those games.
Huizinga is perhaps Hasbro’s most well-known and popular game, played across the world. Huizinga involves a set of linkage rules: two sets of seven pieces each, designated either “queen” or “king”, and a player who doesn’t have any white pieces at the end of the game (called “hierarchy”) loses the game. If any other player has more white pieces than the two kings and queens, they win. Thus, the game ends with one group of seven players, the “queen” group, having won. The word “huizinga” means “noisy” in Spanish.
As part of Hasbro’s educational program for elementary school children, Huizinga was created, and players compete using a computer program called the “Hexade Game.” In Huizinga, players accumulate points by making pairs out of the squares where certain tiles land. Once enough pairs are made, the player wins.
Hasbro’s Huizinga Computer Game was an immediate hit with elementary school children, who loved competing against their friends in this fun electronic game. Aboard the bus rides to school, the little ones are excited to see which pairing of “queens” they can make out with. They even compete to see who can make the longest series of winning matches. Today, the Huizinga board game is still available to teach kids about matching pairs of objects. And Hasbro is not the only manufacturer of educational computer games; countless companies offer educational titles for kids, both boys and girls. Barbie, American Idol and coloring books are just some of the titles available.
Computer games have changed the way we see and do things. No matter how young or old we are, we can benefit from playing computer games. Playing games is a common experience for anyone who grew up using computer systems, and they are fun and engaging. Although computer games have come a long way, they still have a long way to go. Parents, if you have not tried your child’s favorite computer game, you may just be missing out on a valuable educational opportunity! If you have, please encourage them to play more!