August 14, 2009 8:00 AM |
['Lingua Franca' is a biweekly GameSetWatch-exclusive column by Daniel Johnson which discusses the relationship between language, culture and video games. This time, he interviews Tysen Henderson from PopCap Games about juggling fun with education in the word 'em up Bookworm Adventures series.]
Last week I received results back from an interview I'd taken several weeks prior. The interview was for a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course I plan on taking near the year's end.
On the feedback sheet they included the results of a pre-interview exercise in which they expressed concern over my – self-admittingly -- weak spelling and – also self-admittingly -- gaps in knowledge of grammar. Fortunately computers are good at fixing one of those, just not the other.
I hated spelling and grammar exercises as a kid - didn't we all? English after all is a catastrophe of a language. Broken logic forced together in the most contradictory fashion, constructed with a counterintuitive alphabet which is impossible to discern orthographic and semantic sense from.
Even recently, as a semi-competent writer, I sat an English writing course only to be reminded of those unrelenting spelling and grammar tests. Maybe if I had a game like Bookworm Adventures when I was growing up, English and I wouldn't fight so much.
I started playing Bookworm Adventures roughly a year ago now and was memorized by the challenging word 'em up gameplay and lovingly crafted personalities of the cast. The title's base mechanic is that of word construction where the player builds words to defeat a string on fiendish monsters.
This foundation is wrapped in lite RPG elements and a narrative which push you forward and diversify the progression where needed. The concoction of these simple, distilled elements make for a rather enthralling title which is not only immensely enjoyable but significantly aids in language development.
Categories: Column: Lingua Franca