When a video game is designed to provide entertainment, a designer will likely embed a cheat into the game – a shortcut that allows players extra bonuses or progression when they are stymied by a challenging segment of the game. But when your game is designed to provide education, you have to ensure it’s absolutely cheat proof – there’s no shortcuts to knowledge.
That’s what Jeremy Friedberg, co-founder at Toronto’s Spongelab Interactive, understood when creating a game to teach high school students about the history of biology. His team, including a student from Centennial College, designed the game so no one could simply post a walk-through to the Internet and ruin the educational value of the game.
As Grant Buckler shows in our top story today, the educational games market (sometimes called “Serious Games” market) is a hot place for startups like Spongelab right now. While the big video game makers focus their attention on creating the next Halo or Call of Duty, the small guys are going for the gap. It’s a gap where they find decent government funding, and a healthy base of international potential customers.
ITBusiness.ca talked to Spongelab about its game in Nov. 2009.