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October 06, 2008

NYT Article: Should Video Games Be Used as Bait to Hook Readers?

This mornings NYT had an article that is very timely for the video game discussion: "Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers".  The first example in the article is of PJ Haarsma, whose game design is based on the fictional world of his novel, allowing readers to play in it and giving incentives for players to advance by answering questions with information from the novel.

Some of the other examples mentioned from the NYT article were:

  • Scholastic released “The Maze of Bones,” the first installment in a 10-book mystery series that is tied to a Web-based game". Also "The 39 Clues...where online players search for some of the clues themselves, encountering background stories about new characters as well as text and pictures" - and material that supplements the novels that involves some reading.
  • Random House Children’s Books commissioned an online game from a “Inheritance” fantasy series by Christopher Paolini.

I know we enjoyed going to the PBS site to play their learning games, Cyberchase was a fun way to play and practice math at the same time. So why not have a book/game connection? I am a fan of limited screen time - and then choosing the right type of screen time for that "hour" a day (here is a link to a post with my perspective on kids use of technology).

My son is currently waking up early each morning and reading for an hour BEFORE school a Scholastic book series that is based on the Indiana Jones movies. So that is an example of movie to books working well. He also reads other books not related to anything and quite enjoys them..

So my question is "Taking into consideration that limited screen time has become part of our culture, why not have some video games that require reading a book for clues, background or to advance?". Add to that the assumption that kids will (and should ) be exposed to a wide range of books, so that video to book would just be one of them.

Thoughts?

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