The "Civilization" computer game series is a creation of Sid Meier,a well known digital video game producer and creator.
Minecraft is a building game in which the user is called within its virtual world to place and customize bricks (or as they are called in this game, Blocks) and materials to build constructions that can be functional or not. The user also has to choose from a series of playable scenarios that are distinguished in creative, adventure and survival modes and can also chose to play alone or with others in the multiplayer mode (Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015). The particularly useful scenario of creativity is one that provides the greatest potential for educational use as players have unlimited materials to develop the constructions they desire, without being limited by drawbacks such as slow movement from one place to another or the risk their virtual character experiences death, like it happens in the survival mode (Overby & Jones, 2015).
The nature of the game that involves the player in problems with various objects that interact with his decisions, the plethora of choices the user allows, the freedom of movement and choices from the creation of the character to the development of the constructions, puts him in the place of the creator and not just the consumer, resulting in Minecraft being a tool that contains many of the elements of constructivism theories (Overby & Jones, 2015; Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015), redefining it as a highly lucrative and benefitial application to any class (Petrov, 2014).
The game is extremely easy to install and can even work on computer systems or mobile devices with low limited infrastructure, although the multiplayer mode obviously requires internet access (Overby & Jones, 2015; Nebel, Schneider & Rey , 2015). The offered actions that can be implemented in the world are varied and can be used to enhance various teaching subjects such as arts, environmental sensitivity, architecture, mechanics, physics, mathematics and history. (Petrov , 2014; Overby & Jones, 2015).
The benefits associated with the use of Minecraft for educational purposes are a lot. The most important are that Minecraft is linked with the development of students' critical thinking, enhancing creativity, and fostering digital literacy in an environment with increased motivation (Petrov, 2014 (Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015). If used in an online environment that allows multi-player involvement, it increases student collaboration and teamwork since it operates as a tool of social constructivism (Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015).
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that there is also an educational version of Minecraft available, MinecraftEDU, which provides the appropriate tools for teachers to evaluate student-player moves, easier game management, and a range of other objects to smoothly adapt to the learning process (Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015).
Find more at https://minecraft.net/
Nebel, S., Schneider, S., & Rey, G. D. (2016). Mining Learning and Crafting Scientific Experiments: A Literature Review on the Use of Minecraft in Education and Research. Educational Technology & Society, 19 (2): 355-366.
Overby, A. & Jones, B. L. (2015). Virtual LEGOs: Incorporating Minecraft Into the Art Education Curriculum. Art Education, 68 (1), 21-27.
Petrov, A. (2014). Using Minecraft in Education: A Qualitative Study on the Benefits and Challenges of Game-Based Education (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). University of Toronto, Canada.
This War of Mine is an electronic video game developed by the 11 bit studios. The game’s background is inspired by the Yugoslav civil war and the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted four years in which approximately 5,000 mainly civilian civilians were killed (Kirkpatrick & Schiltz, 2016).
What makes it special is that, unlike the other games that put the user in the position of warrior, this game puts him in the position of a citizen and the way he experiences a warring conflict having survival as his main concern (Noack, 2014). The player is called upon to manage the survival of a group of citizens through organizing the distribution of available resources such as fuel, food, water and medicine in particularly difficult situations that affect the mood and vitality of each member until a ceasefire is declared.
The interaction required by the player does not stop only in pure survival and in finding resources, as he is asked to explore his / her own moral framework, being in charge of decisions and moves that affect the psychological situation and consequently the needs of the group handled. For example, he may decide to rob a couple of elderly people to save a member of his own team, but some of its members are so negatively affected by this choice to the point that the group can not function properly, leading some of up to suicide. The player is asked to walk in a stretched rope of balance and survival, experiencing horror, despair and the needs of people in war conditions.
Pedagogical background of the game:
the player is called upon to develop his / her ability to make decisions in the light of the ethical issues that arise. It creates practices interacting with the environment of the game and learns through its own actions by remodeling its choices according to the mistakes it makes (Auberger, n.d.). This War of Mine promotes reflection through the impact of achieving the goal of surviving, creating a sense of despair as the player's choices don’t affect the outcome of the war, as he is only tasked with the wellbeing of his team, a feeling experienced by any civilian who finds himself in the midst of a war (Toma, 2015). No matter what he does, people will lose their lives, and he is called upon to explore the point where the need for survival overlaps his moral and psyche.
The game is available for personal Computers, IOS and Android devices.
Auberger. (n.d.) This War of Mine. Retrieved November 7, 2017, by http://www.playful-pedagogy.org/this-war-of-mine.html
Kirkpatrick, J. & amp; Schiltz, S. (2016). Review - this War of Mine. Retrieved November 7, 2017, by http://www.e-ir.info/2016/02/07/review-this-war-of-mine/
Noack, R. (2014) This war video game is not about the shooters. It's about the victims.Washington Post. November 21.
Toma, E. (2015) Self-reflection and morality in critical games. Who is to be blamed for war? Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology. 6 (1), 209-224.