May 28, 2007

Samorost - Set aside 30 minutes now...

Firefoxscreensnapz003 As she of orange hair, Aleks Krotoski, has said, Samorost is the kind of game Harold Pinter would have made: apparently trivial, hopelessly easy to fall into, enclosed spaces where the crazy dialogue you start coming up with in your mind seems at odds with the simplicity of the plot the game designers have conceived.

Samorost and Samorost2 have just won a Webby in the gaming category. They are free, flash-based and just full of potential for some creative writing - the art in the landscapes is surreal and beautiful, with all kinds of nooks and crannies for our imaginations to rumble in.

Firefoxscreensnapz004 The slow and logical way you have to explore the landscapes with your mouse to get anywhere in the game makes you come up with possible plots in your head before you read into what you are actually supposed to do.

I'm still waiting for Myst to get delivered for some creative writing work - this is an excellent short-term alternative. Wonder what Tim thinks...

If you've not quite got half an hour to spare or, if on a late Monday afternoon you're a bit slow, then the hints might help you out.


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That is just bizarre! Surreal is too week a word... first lesson, synonyms for surreal!

Samorost and Samorost 2 are good examples, too, of online games that English Language Learners can use for a language development activity. You can put two students on one computer, one has a copy of the game's "walkthrough" (directions), and can help guide the other through the game. (I wish, though, that Somorost 2 didn't start with a character smoking a pipe).

There are also many other online video games that are great English language development activities. Here's a post on a couple of them:

Completely enchanting. Cheers!

These games are superb. I showed them to some education managers and teachers when I first started at The Consolarium but they all felt that they could not use Samorost 1 in school. This was because the second screen (the one with the ski-jumping man) requires the 'pipe smoker to finish whatever it is he is smoking that will allow you to then use the key to switch on the generator. The problem was that they felt the smoking character, or more to the point what it was he was smoking, was too controversial for use in the class. What do you think? As yet, I haven't seen Samorost in schools (it'd probably get blocked anyway) but what a superb game from Amanita Design. They also make videos for Bjork and The Polyphonic Spree!

One other thing Ewan. 30 minutes!!! It took me two hours the first time I played it. ;-)

I must be G&T then ;-)

I think the game is usable - if a kid is writing a story in English they might have a character smoking, committing a crime, having a drink. You can use the episode at the beginning as a means to talk through the issues without being seen to condone it. As with all things we present in the class, it's about *talking* with kids instead of just plonking them in front of the game cold, no?

I am SOOOOOO glad you've discovered Samorost Ewan. I was first shown it by the inimitable Major Fun @ . And for what its worth *I* have used it in school and my pupils LOVE the challenge it presents.

Thank you - this looks amazing! The possibilities for writing, talking, thinking, sharing, exploring, making, discovering just keep popping into my head - and I haven't even shown it to my kids for their opinions and ideas :)
It isn't even blocked at school (YET) shshsh -I'd better not say that too loudly

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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