Voice of Real Australia: Why computer games really are an educational tool | County Leader of St George and Sutherland
Voice of the real Australia is a regular newsletter of ACM, which has reporters in every state and territory. register here to receive it by e-mail, or here to pass it on to a friend. Today is written by ACM Agricole nnational digital specialist Kelly Butterworth.
Every bone in my journalistic body tells me that every good story has a solid introduction. So there you have it: I’m here to talk about farming gameplay in non-farming games.
But the rest of my bones want to paint a flowery picture.
When I was around 10, I remember walking around the mall, holding my mother’s old wallet that now contained my birthday money – carefully counted and prepared for a big morning of spending.
I’m sure my mom expected a long (and probably painful) morning of indecision resulting in a toy I didn’t need and clothes that wouldn’t fit in three weeks at the rate I was growing. . But she was wrong – very early in the trip, I spotted a game that I had seen my friends playing on their home computers – The Sims.
It started what could loosely be called a 20-year addiction with a game that is now in its fourth generation. Not too long ago they released an expansion pack called Cottage Living.
It promised to bring agriculture to the game (which is a mix of architecture, urban planning, creating people and making them live their best life). With him came crops, chickens, cows and llamas (don’t ask). Also lots of flannel, foxes (a little too real when they approach the hens) and picnic baskets.
It’s idealistic – you can really only have a maximum of two or three cows, and every day they need to be fed, washed, milked (they’re all dairy cows) and can be dressed.
What it is not is realistic. Never did the neighbor call me to tell me that my cattle were on the road or ask me for the total rainfall for the night.
But ultimately, a whole generation of Sims fans are learning that crops grow better/bigger with the right kind of attention and fertilizer, and that cows need to be milked daily.
They might buy into the stereotypes of farmers wearing flannel and plaid, but they use gameplay where they grow crops, cook them, and trade their animals for meat.
Farming isn’t a new game concept (remember the FarmVille craze back in 2009?) and it’s interesting to see how different games are entering the industry.
I was surprised to see The Sims attempt a farming expansion pack. It was controversial, with animal activist groups opposing the whole idea.
I hope there’s a 10-year-old kid in town with his birthday money, begging his parents to let them buy the game.
Maybe they will learn a little more about fertilizers or where their eggs come from.