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Accomplishing the Impossible with Game-Based Learning

We’ve previously established that digital learning games can aid in engaging struggling young learners, help players develop 21st century skills, and even teach a marketer how to code

…but did you know that educational games also allow players to accomplish the impossible?

Today we’re going to explore how digital games can simulate nearly any situation, even ones that would be infeasible and impractical to replicate in real-life. From crafting your own fleet of rockets and spaceplanes to immersing oneself in the life and times of famous scientists throughout history, each of the educational games below are examples of learning environments that would be otherwise unreasonable (and/or exorbitantly costly) to access in the real world. Let’s jump right into our list with a classic from our Filament Learning library:

Reach for the Sun

Demonstrative of moving learning objectives to gameplay mechanics using systems, our plant structure and processes learning game Reach for the Sun challenges players to grow a plant from a seedling, defending it against insects and helping it survive through the seasons to pollinate and produce flowers. Unlike growing a plant in real-life, though, Reach for the Sun lets players experience the plant growth cycle at a vastly accelerated pace – allowing players to replicate the lengthy process of growing and nurturing a plant within the time constraints of a single class period!


Available through our partner TeacherGaming, KerbalEDU is a standalone, classroom-friendly version of the acclaimed space flight simulation game Kerbal Space Program. Featuring a realistic orbital physics engine, 6 full-length lesson plans, and (literally) hundreds of hours of intergalactic spaceflight gameplay, KerbalEDU is a challenging game that puts players’ mathematics, physics, and engineering skills to the test – it is rocket science, after all!

ARTé: Mecenas

Developed by our friends at Triseum, ARTé: Mecenas demands players assume the role of a member of the merchant/banking Medici family during the Italian Renaissance. As players balance relationships with powerful figures and institutions, they experience firsthand the interconnectedness of local and international economies in Renaissance Italy while also playing a key role in the creation of iconic artworks of the period. Similar to other game-based learning experiences like Assassin’s Creed: Origins’ Discovery Mode, ARTé: Mecenas lets players accomplish the impossible by experiencing firsthand the cultures, economies, and institutions of one of the most iconic periods in world history.

Attentat 1942

Deemed ‘Best Learning Game’ at the 2018 Games For Change Festival, Attentat 1942 is a World War II game that tells the story of Nazi occupation through the eyes of its survivors. Developed by Charles University and the Czech Academy of Sciences, the game is described as a “historically accurate adventure” designed around interactions with survivors, interactive comics, and authentic historical footage. Sure, books and films about World War II and the Holocaust are common – however experiencing the viscerality and horrors of this period firsthand through interactive gameplay sequences makes the player’s overall learning experience far more dark, unsettling, and ultimately impactful.

Breaking Boundaries in Science

Wrapping up today’s list is our upcoming Oculus Go/Samsung Gear VR title Breaking Boundaries in Science, an immersive VR celebration of some of history’s most famous women in STEM. Developed in partnership with Oculus, Breaking Boundaries lets players explore the faithfully recreated work environments of figures like Jane Goodall, Grace Hopper, and Marie Curie, gaining an intimate knowledge of their lives and achievements through fully voice-acted vignettes that are steeped in historical context. By bending the rules of time and space, the game allows players to immerse themselves in the workspaces and stories of these iconic women – a feat made possible only through the power of digital game-based learning.

Want to see more examples of game-based learning in action? Check these out:

5 Great Games that Teach Computer Science
Exploring Ancient Egypt Through Video Games
Virtual Reality in the Classroom: 3 Real-world Applications


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