Thank you, Nintendo!

February 25, 2008 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

I have just recently returned from a trip to Japan, and was astounded
by the sheer volume of educational games that are available for the
Nintendo systems (Wii and DS in particular.) In addition to games
teaching the fundamentals of raising pets, Brain Age, and other games
that have managed to make it into international markets, they have
shelves of software dedicated to virtually every topic you could think
of. They have tutorials teaching the fundamentals of Mah-Jongg and
Shogi, science and history curricula, software that converts your
Nintendo DS into a handheld electronic travel dictionary, and even a
program that teaches the basics of stock trading!

Fortunately for those who can speak and read Japanese, the programs
are compatible with any Nintendo system, not just those sold in Japan
(compatibility problems used to exist between Japanese and US versions
of older systems.) Still, as happy as I was that I could still use
the software myself, I was frustrated that this trend has yet to
really catch on more in the US. The few programs like Brain Age that
have made it into the US market have been wildly popular, but we need
more that take advantage of the system’s capabilities to teach other

While on a separate trip to Japan last year, I bought a DS program
that teaches all 2,000 of the basic kanji (characters) required to
read the average newspaper. Passing the tests is extremely difficult,
but as a lifelong gamer I can attest to the fact that no other method
of study has made the kanji stick as well as this has. Fortunately,
my supervisor was impressed enough by the software that she now allows
me to use it for up to an hour a day at work to improve my literacy (I
am a translator by trade, so it only makes me better at what I do.)
This year I saw that they had even expanded this program to include a
full kanji dictionary in the software as well.

This is just one example of the kind of potential this medium has. If
you enjoy gaming and support learning, I highly encourage you to
support these new software ventures from Nintendo and encourage others
to try them out. Nintendo is still the most family-friendly brand out
there among the game systems and has the greatest likelihood of being
accepted in an educational environment because of its reputation. I
have played (and still own) other systems, and do not represent
Nintendo in any sort of official capacity. I just applaud the company
for taking a chance on a new kind of gaming and hope others will
support its efforts.

Author: Wren Hosoi, 24th February 2008


Entry filed under: Games, Innovation, Learning, Social Impact, Trends. Tags: , , , , .

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The purpose of this blog is to provide insight into the impact of computer games and pop culture, and effective ways of incorporating the positive surplus into learning experiences.

Please feel free to add comments and email me with any queries. I am also interested in relevant project collaboration.

Name: Alexandra Matthews
Location: UK

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