Educational Game Review

Game #1
I played Fix the Budget- Gotham Gazette’s 2010 Budget Game. It was interesting to see what a big city has for spending each year and how much each department needs in order to function. As a player you have to decide which department has to cut back on money and which ones get more money. However the trick is you have to match it up with how much the city gets in revenue as well. In the end you compare your budget you set to the mayor’s budget and see what the differences are.

I think it’s important for kids to have an understanding of what actually goes on within city hall and how money is distributed. At the end of the game I was expecting to see if I did well compared to the mayor’s budget but nothing happened… I just submitted my budget and that was it. So I was kind of confused as to what I was getting out of the game. This would be a good game to introduce to kids when talking about government and funding because it’s so much money and so many different areas that need money in order to survive or run properly. Basically it acts as a “real life” budget for kids to see and try and set.

As far as teaching goes, I didn’t learn much because there was nothing in the end that said if I was successful at setting a good budget or not.

Overall I think the game could be much better and more realistic if students were given feedback in the end. The game could go into much more depth as far as who suffers, who gains, etc. from the budgets I set. Also the game really didn’t take very long. It involved a lot of reading and math skills but I completed it in about 15 minutes. Therefore, I will also review another educational game.

Game #2
Argument Wars! This is a game that deals with current and realistic issues that courts are facing. It is the player’s responsibility to take a stand on a case and defend their side of the story. The game goes into depth and allows the player to defend their story, support it with evidence, and win their case. You can object if the defendant stats something that you don’t believe to be relevant or of matter.

There is a lot of learning that occurs from playing this game. Students learn about current, relevant, and important cases that courts have to address. The specific case I defended had to do with students rights in school. My case was New Jersey vs. T.L.O, who was an actual student case where she felt her rights as a citizen were violated. In reality schools and principles have a right to search student’s things if they believe they are causing harm or could be causing harm to other students. This game teaches players how to defend a case by supporting their stand with concrete evidence and U.S. laws.

The game teaches you about our government and how it works. It teaches you how to defend legal issues by supporting your stance with evidence. This game would be a great educational game to introduce to a government call, especially when talking about debates. Really it doesn’t matter if you are on the “right or wrong” side but as long as you can defend what you are claiming you are going to come out on top. Evidence is always the most important thing in legal cases.

Overall I liked this game. I was actually engaged and that’s saying something since I don’t really enjoy video games. I found myself wanting to score points and beat my opponent because I was passionate about the side I took from the beginning. The game allows you to choose what side of the case you want to support from the very beginning and that really helped me in defending my case. This game would be easy to justify for integrating into a curriculum because actual learning occurs and students can practice for an actual debate.