Archive for September, 2009
I’ve been playing Civilization for about four years. It ranks somewhere near 3 or 4 on my list of Top Ten Games. I thought it might be interesting to keep track of my games and the strategies I employ for each game. I’m curious to see how my cause-effect scenarios play out. If you have never played Civilization, you can now find a scaled down version for the iPod Touch/Phone. This version, based on the latest addition to the Civ series, is available for the XBox 360 and the PS3. While the mechanics and options are the same on both the iPod and console versions, the Civilization Revolution game just doesn’t play the same on a small iPod screen.
Over the last year, I’ve probably played Civilization Revolution at least 50 times. Any game that keeps you coming back that many times has something unique about it. At first, it was the interest to see if Civilization could be used in a middle school history class. They loved it. Pairs, small groups, solo, they figured out the basic challenge of building a thriving civilization. More about that later. I went into this game having exhausted all of the provided scenarios and wanted to see if there was a feature of a particular ancient civilization that I hadn’t applied. The Aztecs start the game with the ability to automatically heal your starting warrior units. This is a big advantage as it allows you to swiftly eliminate the Barbarians and stock pile the gold you gain from them. But, something was different about this game.
My starting location provided a great opportunity to create a ring of cities that would be protected by mountains. My thinking was that 4 cites connected together would quickly advance my Aztec civilization. Three cites were built and booming when the Egyptians announced their presence. Somehow they had acquired the Invention and Steam Power technologies early in the game. These usually take about 20 turns to achieve. Veteran Legion armies were soon attacking my cities. A change of strategy was needed. Clearly, the Egyptians were not going to settle down and focus on pyramid building. They were set on eliminating my civilization from the game. I needed to wipe them off the map. I set a course to research the technologies that would lead to the Atomic Weapon. A few swift moves to develop tank and artillary armies provided just enough time to hold off the aggressive Egyptians until I could launch. The ballistic missile arched over my two remaining cities and smacked down on Thebes. Unfortunately, this had no effect in slowing down their advancement. I think I should have bombed one of the cities that was working towards building a space station. If I had destroyed those cities, the Egyptians would have had to start over in building the components of a space station.
The lesson learned: bombing a city is not that satisfying. The city looked the same as it did before I lobbed the missile at it. I still think my strategy of developing my civilization so that I have 4 cities in a ring will work. Maybe I’ll play as the Egyptians next time.
Yes, it’s true. Many teachers around the world are taking advantage of the educational uses of computer games.
Exporting and Linking to Blog or Moodle
Creating an Enhanced Podcast Using Images and Audio
There are many free online tools for teachers and students. These are just a few:
Want to try these out without having to sign-up for an account? Log-in with the provided (username, password)
Mindmeister – (email@example.com, shanghai)
Stixy - (firstname.lastname@example.org, shanghai)
Wallwisher – (email@example.com, shanghai)
Slideshare - just click on the “guest” option. Enter “Middle School Math” in the search bar and see your results.
Easy Slideshow and Movie Tools
Animoto – (firstname.lastname@example.org, shanghai)
xtranormal – (email@example.com, shanghai)
JayCut – (firstname.lastname@example.org, shanghai)
Vuvox – (email@example.com, shanghai)
Joggle - (firstname.lastname@example.org, shanghai)
dotsub – upload a video and have it translated into any language (sastest, shanghai)
Remember the Milk - To Do List that integrates well with many other online tools.
Spell with Flickr - Anything spelled out using individual pictures from around the world!
geoGreeting – use Google Earth images to send a message to someone.
Many researchers, teachers and avid game players around the globe believe the video game is much more than fodder for filling your extra time. The Games for Change website features several games that seek to tackle the complex issues related to global conflict, politics, poverty, public health, economics and public policy. Look for future reviews by students and teachers on the educational merit of these games.