This post has been edited and reposted: 28 February 2016.

A game that I  play on my iPad is Monument Valley. It was an Apple Design Award Winner 2014, though I didn’t realize that initially as my nephew (who is a graduate of a digital design/animation) referred it to me. It is created by the group UsTwo http://ustwo.com/play/

The features that stand out personally for me, is the overall design of the game. It really is beautiful and an art form. It is based on Escher’s puzzles, but it is more than that. It is a narrative and a quest: “Long have these old bones waited in darkness. How far have you wandered, silent princess? Why are you here?” . The game leads you on, challenges you and even frustrates you. Each level (there are 10) becomes progressively more difficult, and yet as a player, you are supported. You cannot move forward until you resolve the problem. Sometimes, different pathways seem to open up to move you on, when you become stuck..or so it seemed to me.  The music/sound is evocative and contributes to the overall mystery of the game. I have already downloaded the extra chapters and am looking forward to playing them.
 
There are many aspects of this game that I consider to be educational:
  • the artwork – not only overall design, but perspective 
  • the story/narrative and journey, imagery, symbolism
  • mathematical – 3D perception, geometry
  • architecture
  • problem solving, puzzles, illusion 

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My use of games in the classroom has been admittedly very few and far between, as I am a teacher librarian. What games I have played or seen have been largely those that reinforce skills only and therefore limited in their use and application. 
 

I was planning to trial Minecraft. I am interested to see why students are so enthralled with it, and it is the one game that seems to have taken Education by storm. There is now Minecraft for Education and numerous other wikis and sites supporting this game platform. I think it is signifcant that Minecraft has taken this step to support gaming in education. I also like their:

Create. Connect. Collaborate.

I am not a ‘lego’ person, so not sure if visually the game will appeal to me. I know it is more than that – but I think the visual appeal is very important. I did not grow up with computers so I am quite anxious actually about jumping into gaming.  I feel like I need to connect up with some young (or not so young) mentors. Stay tuned for my reflections. Till then, I have had a laugh watching:

 
It is great to see that there are open source (I am a fan!) games similar to Minecraft. I found one called Terasology which has piqued my interest.They have even been accepted to be part of the Google Summer of Code. If time was to permit, I would love to play games such as JourneyCivilisation 5, and I was just reading an article about ‘The Longest Journey’  all of which intrigue me, and with the two ‘Journey’s’ continue the element of narrative/story  that I so enjoyed in Monument Valley. I think I will also have to try the Apple game of the year 2015  which is “Lara Croft GO” ( It’s basically a “Tomb Raider” version of “Monument Valley” in every way but name. Which is to say: “Lara Croft GO” is a delightful puzzle game). My cup of tea! Well, upon reflection, saying ‘cup of tea’ promotes a feeling of well-being similar to playing Monument Valley. Lara Croft Go has hooked me, yet I feel very guilty every time she has to meet a dreadful demise due to my puzzle and logic skills. Definitely recommend the app.  Still, very tame compared to some of the other Multiple player games as Warcraft and League of Legends!
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