Checkout is a point and click adventure game in which beginning English students need to cooperate to find their way through several missions. The game is designed in such a way that 2 or more players are needed to find all the clues and items that are required to make progress. Players can only communicate in English for any other language will end up as gibberish in the in-game chat engine. Can they practice what they have learned and reach the end?
We worked on this game with a team of several English highschool teachers. This way we would be sure that the several missions would connect to the themes the students would be learning about during their first semester; like asking your way around or ordering food. Missions can be played inside the classroom with the teacher functioning as coach. But students were also motivated to continue playing at home.
Missions were also designed with different competences in mind. In the mission select teachers would be able to see these competences so they would be able to form student teams accordingly, giving them a playful tool to help students who fall behind a bit better.
Besides the point and click style gameplay of solving puzzles and working your way through branching dialogs we also created several minigames. One such minigame was a Tetris style game in which they had to form blocks with falling letters. Or a minigame in which they would be working at the reception of a hotel and were asked to correctly handle bookings that came in through telephone. Most of these minigames trained either the listening or reading skills of the students and closely connected with reallife assignments teachers would already be giving in class.
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Related links & articles
Website: Games Factory Online
Video: Trailer on Youtube
Website: Dutch Game Awards 2010
Article: Excerpt “Improving Learning and Motivation”
Article: Research report validation Check Out!