Monday, October 13, 2014

Phantasy Quest

The game I chose to play was Phantasy Quest which falls under the "Escape the Room" category of gaming, involving a point-and-click technique to navigate around a certain environment (in this case, a deserted island), picking up tools and gaining points the farther into the game you are able to. In my initial attempt, I decided not to use the Phantasy Quest Walkthrough to see how intuitive I could be in using the game. Very quickly I got frustrated, especially when I died shortly into playing. In my second attempt I used the walkthrough at my advantage to get a better understanding of what was expected of me. While the game stimulated a scenario of a broken-down ship and a "missing girl" I was still unclear of the various tools I could be picking up and how to carry out difficult tasks. Personally, my lack of understanding in my initial attempt made me very frustrated and wanted to give up. Had I been given more explicit feedback and directions, I may have been more willing to try new things and develop better strategies. But in this case, I gave up and used the Walkthrough. Even so, the Walkthrough was a bit difficult for me to follow. I understood quickly was W,N,E meant in directional usage. However as the instructions told me to "pick up the lantern" per se, after multiple clicks I was frustrated that it wasn't happening as easily as I wanted to. Additionally, some of the instructions seemed vague or wasn't matching up to what I was viewing.

Despite my failed experience, I noticed a wide variety of various language skills and cues that could be used as a basis for content acquisition when using the Walkthrough. Commands such as "pick up" "fill the bottle" and directional terms such as "Go W, W, N" help put in to place strategies and tactics that help students achieve their goal. Without the Walkthrough, students would have to use their own competency of the program and the English language to guess at what is expected of them while his very useful, I worry that if I myself couldn't get a solid handle on Phantasy Quest without the assisace of the Walkthrough, how would an ELL feel?

Using this particular game in the classroom I would first have to have them practice skills such as going left/right/up/down, identifying and clicking on various clues or hints that may be apparent throughout the navigation. By clicking on the tree, for example, they are presented with the challenge of feeding the tree water. The students would then have to think about the tools necessary to complete this task, and I would assess whether or not they would know to go in the directional of water, or things to that nature. However in tasks that are more implicit, such as finding a bottle which they have not yet encountered, I think cues and a Walkthrough would be most appropriate. What I would be assessing, then, is not whether they know the exact positioning of certain items, but whether they are aware of the tools they will need to carry out the task. When given a walkthrough however, the assessment may be more focused on how clearly they follow directions.

Images would be crucial in games as it would connect language with a visual of what they need. More difficult words that showed up in the game like "lantern" or "plank" may require a visual image for the student to understand how it is used and what its function is. Here, the assessment would be whether or not the student can acquire a foreign objects functional uses. I would have to ask questions such as, "Why was the lantern used to make a fire?" to see whether they understood that the word "lantern" associates with light and fire. Additionally, assessing which direction the student moves throughout the game will show their acquisition of directional terms such as North, West, East, South. I wouldn't use the Walkthrough provided in this case, because using the simple symbols of W,N,E, and S may be too advanced for their level of learning. Rather, I would create a Walkthrough that spelled out more difficult terms and assess their understanding.

1 comment:

  1. I died quickly in this game too, but you have suggested ways that the walk-through could be of assistance and provide language learning opportunities. Also if you decided to use this particular game, you could always create your own walk-through that you might feel would work better for your students.