Thursday, August 09, 2007

Game based learning with a bite!

The game
On the Discovery site you can play a special edugame. For free. Just bring your courage with you.

"Sharkrunners is a game of oceanic exploration and high stakes shark research. Players take on the role of sharkrunners: daring and adventurous marine biologists who seek to learn as much as possible about sharks through advanced observation techniques."

Does this sounds tempting to you? It becomes more interesting if you take a look at the nice merging of real and virtual life within this game. Although your boat and crew is totally virtual, your sharks are not!

"Real-world telemetry data provides the position and movement of actual great white sharks in Sharkrunners, so that every shark players encounter corresponds to a real shark out in the actual ocean."

Game play
Within the game you will face a lot of choices, it begins with the choice of the group you want to be in. Do you like to join a group of extreme activists or a more conservative group of biologists? As a player you can define you own route. With every encounter with the (real) shark you can choose to go on a Zodiak and stay on the surface. In that case the risks are low but also the data gathering will be limited. Or you can go for a dive. If the dive is OK you can improve the skills of your crew. After that you define the direction and speed of the boat.

Interaction design
The game can be played by people with limited IT-skills. The navigation is straightforward and clean. The messages are clear and a decent help is presented. The game is using engaging text, graphics, audio and video in a functional way.

If you are close to a shark and an encounter is possible, you will receive an e-mail and/or text message on your phone (depends on your preferences). After being notified you have 3 hours to login and to take action. Within the game you also receive messages and your progress is tracked and presented by a 'shipslog'.

This is really a game with a bite. Educational and exiting. Because the fact that you are playing with real sharks makes it a different sensation. It is not as exiting as the time that I was diving with sharks but it comes close!

Play and learn, if you dare. Visit the website, sign on for free and enjoy!

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