Video games – baby steps

I have just finished reading a really interesting book on video games as educational tools, by James Paul Gee.

In my quest to understand video games I have discovered Gem Miner, which I have downloaded to my mobile phone. I chose it because it was a recommended ‘top’ game for android phones, and would allow me to play it whenever I had a spare few minutes, for example on the bus.

My first impressions (after an hour):
– The training module at the beginning is very useful, but still relies on the player to explore themselves as well. For example, I worked out that I can get back out of the mine by stacking ladders on top of each other. Had I looked more carefully, I would have noticed that my tool cart included a lift, therefore I would have not wasted as many ladders when I fell down the shaft.
– It is important to work out how to save your game and keep an eye on stamina of the character you’re playing as. It’s also essential to know where to go to get healthier again.
– It takes more time than anticipated and I got very involved, starting to care that the little miner was happy.

I’d be grateful for any other suggestions of ‘beginner’ games for someone who has dabbled in Wii sports, Lemmings (in the 90s, together with my dad), never left the training area of Second Life and somewhat failed to grasp World of Warcraft (I did enjoy dancing in fountains though). Thanks 🙂

Note added on 18 August: I realise that my question was rather unspecific and didn’t lend itself to a proper answer, as I totally ignored the fact of games variety, genres, etc. Fortunately a kind colleague has since pointed me at ‘interactive fiction‘, which sounds quite exciting and doesn’t mean that I have to learn lots of new things about controls and such (which is usually where I struggle) just yet.

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