Battle of the Titans: Super Mario Bros. Vs Math Blaster

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an analysis of 2 video games from the perspective of how well they support learning

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  • Partly a report on a work in progress Partly an introduction to a new discipline Partly intended to provoke a reaction
  • Battle of the Titans: Super Mario Bros. Vs Math Blaster

    1. 1. Battle of the Titans: Katrin Becker University of Calgary September 2006 vs
    2. 2. <ul><li>REMEMBER : </li></ul><ul><li>Table of findings </li></ul>
    3. 3. Overview <ul><li>1. Why Do This? </li></ul>8. Next Steps 7. What I Learned 6. Game Play Experience 2. How? 3. What is a “good” game? 4. Why these games? 5. The Games Mario / Math Blaster
    4. 4. 0. Introduction <ul><li>Games teach. </li></ul><ul><li>People learn from games. </li></ul><ul><li>Are Games Educational? </li></ul>(I don’t care)
    5. 5. 0b. What are the Questions? <ul><li>What must be learned to get through this game? </li></ul><ul><li>How does this game facilitate that learning? </li></ul>
    6. 6. 1. Why Do This? <ul><li>Ultimate goal: </li></ul><ul><li>Design good instructional games (GIG) </li></ul><ul><li>Teach people how design GIG </li></ul><ul><li>IF good games teach, then we can </li></ul><ul><li>learn how by studying the masters. </li></ul>
    7. 7. 2. How To Do This? (methodology) <ul><li>Most good games were not designed to be educational….. </li></ul><ul><li>at least not on purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>SO, </li></ul><ul><li>their designs are not framed in educational terms. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT, </li></ul><ul><li>to design instructional games, we need that…… </li></ul>
    8. 8. 2. How To Do This? (methodology) <ul><li>One Answer: </li></ul><ul><li>PRETEND it was designed that way. </li></ul><ul><li>Can re-capture design through reverse engineering. </li></ul>
    9. 9. 3. What is a “good” game? <ul><li>Popular: </li></ul><ul><li>good sales (really good) </li></ul><ul><li>Critical acclaim </li></ul><ul><li>That makes it good because: </li></ul><ul><li>- don’t get awards & sustained sales if the game is frustrating; no fun; too easy; too hard; annoying; too predictable….. </li></ul>
    10. 10. 4. Why these Games? <ul><li>All the teachers love Math Blaster </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(don’t ask the kids…..) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mario </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Same genre & style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small console (handicapped graphics & power) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good Game </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. 5a. The Games: Mario
    12. 12. 5b. The Games: Math Blaster
    13. 13. 6a. Playing Mario
    14. 16. 1
    15. 17. 1-1
    16. 18. 1-1
    17. 19. 1-1
    18. 20. 1-1
    19. 21. 1-2
    20. 22. 1-3
    21. 23. 1-3
    22. 24. 1-toad
    23. 25. 1-4
    24. 26. 1-*
    25. 27. 1-A
    26. 28. 1-*
    27. 29. 2-1
    28. 30. 2-2
    29. 31. 3-C
    30. 33. D
    31. 34. Field
    32. 35. 6b. Playing Math Blaster
    33. 57. 7. What I Learned <ul><li>Similar learning requirements. </li></ul><ul><li>Obstacles are arbitrary. </li></ul><ul><li>Differences in graphics/sound/animation not central (although play a role). </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Mode is trial and error. </li></ul><ul><li>Game vs Learning elements </li></ul><ul><li>learning elements arbitrary </li></ul>
    34. 58. 7-1. Supporting Trail and Error Status Displays Action Feedback Choice
    35. 59. Summary of Findings <ul><li>Status Displays </li></ul><ul><li>Obviously tied to gameplay </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent, running </li></ul><ul><li>Always shows % completed, lives left, power-ups, points. </li></ul><ul><li>Action Feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Every interaction associated with a sound – collisions, hits, inaccessible paths. </li></ul><ul><li>Shooting goombas makes them go away. </li></ul><ul><li>Choice </li></ul><ul><li>All courses repeatable any time. </li></ul><ul><li>Each ‘world’ is different. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Game over” and lost life returns you to main map. </li></ul><ul><li>Status Displays </li></ul><ul><li>Tied to learning objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Summary, after course </li></ul><ul><li>Never shows progress except shield strength. </li></ul><ul><li>Action Feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Some interactions associated with a sound – right & wrong answer sounds very similar. </li></ul><ul><li>Shooting robots slows them but has no other effect. </li></ul><ul><li>Choice </li></ul><ul><li>Single path through courses – only choice is equation set. </li></ul><ul><li>Paths and ‘worlds’ are same for each set. </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of shield power returns you to beginning of course. </li></ul>Mario MathBlaster
    36. 60. 7-2. Supporting Trail and Error <ul><li>Status Displays </li></ul>
    37. 61. 7-2. Supporting Trail and Error Status Displays
    38. 62. 7-3. Supporting Trail and Error <ul><li>Action Feedback </li></ul>
    39. 63. 7-3. Supporting Trail and Error Action Feedback
    40. 64. 7-4. Supporting Trail and Error <ul><li>Choice </li></ul>
    41. 65. 7-4. Supporting Trail and Error Choice
    42. 66. 8. Next Steps (or, so now what?)
    43. 67. Image / sound Credits: <ul><li>Super Mario Bros. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.gamespot.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.gamespy.cim </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.ign.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://mario.nintendo.com/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://marioevolution.free.fr </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.infendo.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://forums.nintendo.com/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sound captures from http:// mario.nintendo.com / </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>by SoundForge 4.5 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Math Blaster </li></ul><ul><ul><li>K. Becker (screen captures by </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Screen Shot Deluxe 7.0 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.broderbund.com/ ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sound captures by SoundForge 4.5 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Nintendo DS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.nintendo.com/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.gameinformer.com </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Monitor Screen </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.hp.com </li></ul></ul>

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