Monday, August 22

"Grand Theft Auto"ing Edutainment Software

Grand Theft Auto might be the worst game series ever, in part because it might be the best.

Almost Microsoft-esque, GTA has absorbed and fairly seamlessly integrated different genres, including driving games, first person shooters, fighting games, gambling games, flight simulators, adventure games, shopping games, role-playing games and more.

My last post got me thinking. What if one took a GTA approach to edutainment software?

What if you could create, over multiple iterations, an experience that both included a generic, open ended "real-world" environment with specific missions to increase capability?

You could absorb:
  • Pet simulators/trainers
  • Lemonade stands
  • Tycoon (designing interactive environments, such as store layouts and zoos)
  • Designing (building cars for example, or new computers, or new clothes. If a persistant world had a GTA visual structure, you could see hundreds of people wearing your trendy new hats as you walked down the street)
  • Business building/ logistics
  • Logic games
  • Historic settings
  • Physics simulators
  • Medical/vet
  • Ecosystems/genetic engineering
  • Space
  • Traffic Emergencies
  • Negotiation simulators
Trucks, dinosaurs, dating, status, shopping, horses could co-exist in different locations as themes and reward structures. Mathematics could exist as an optional but useful lens. Multi-player and massively multiplayer would of course be optional key components. Building up business empires, huge houses, and vast social networks could start at humble activities, including creating great inventions and training animals. You could call in favors, as well as generate more and more people loyal to you. You could live in the stables, or labs, or making deliveries, or in the operating room as well if you wanted to.

I'm in!


Anonymous said...
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jay said...

Clark, you could call your game Second Life. Oh wait a minute; someone's already done that.

Clark Aldrich said...


I was thinking much of the same as I was writing it. But there is more to it, including the role of AI driven avatars, and formal missions, and... and... and...


Anonymous said...

Clark, re: NYT article on demise of edutainment... a few mentions about independent, dedicated devices (eg, LeapPad) replacing the PC. I don't see the linkage. I have 3 kids who use both, and as wi-fi laptops are becoming more ubiquitous -- what's the difference?

Your thoughts? Leapster putting edutainment market out of business?

- Kevin Kruse

Clark Aldrich said...

I agree that LeapFrog should be counted squarely in the edutainment area. I also have purchased their stuff over PC versions.

LeapFrog seem to have a decent renewal process/model, which is pretty important to me.

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