Even though parents and school teachers do not always understand the benefits of playing games; there is far more to playing a video game than just someone enjoying themselves. Most games have rather in-depth plots and the characters have dialogue that sometimes gives the player the opportunity to make a choice or answer a question. Regardless of the game’s genre, players of all ages have to rationalize and strategize their playing style. Even when fighting an enemy character, the player has to read what is displayed on the screen and figure out how to respond to the current situation. Improving literacy via playing games is not only possible, but very plausible, especially when a game uses words and phrases that the player is unfamiliar with.
One example of a game genre that helps improve literacy is the role playing game, or RPG. In order to understand the premise of an RPG, the players have to read the introduction, which provides a back-story and usually quite a bit of dialogue. The player has to choose a name for their character and that character has to speak with various non-player characters (NPCs) in order to understand what is going on. They may be given various tasks and side-quests throughout the game in order to progress the storyline. Reading comprehension is a crucial skill, for a player may miss an important piece of information if they overlook or simply do not understand something that their character is told. Even mathematics come into play when a player purchases something from one of the shops or engages in battle.
Strategy games require quite a bit of reading comprehension as well, for the player will find themselves immersed in a world filled with dialogue and choices that have to be made. They must try to form tactics that will overcome the NPC’s enemy troops in order to advance the game and there may be secret characters that have to be unlocked throughout the game. This will help with improving literacy via playing games because players have to figure out how to think and read fast, while understanding everything that is presented to them while they play. If they do not understand something or just try to skim over the text, the players will find that things do not end up in their favor very often.
Improving literacy via playing games is also very possible by playing puzzle games. Though puzzle games do not typically have a great deal of dialogue or battles, the directions can be downright complicated to understand and may only be provided once or twice during the game itself. The player has to figure out how to solve various different puzzles and is usually provided a certain time limit to solve the puzzle in and progress to the next stage. Contrary to popular belief, games are excellent learning tools, for they provide the players with hours or days of enjoyment– and they typically do not even realize that they are learning something. It is rather possible that certain games can make excellent teaching tools.