Playing Ninja Gaiden 2





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 Playing Ninja Gaiden 2

Dr Alex Tang

  My daughter received a XBOX as a birthday present after Christmas. I have always wanted to try out the XBOX and there is one game I really like to try out on it and that is Ninja Gaiden. Ninja Gaiden is a mixture of role playing game and first person shooter, only he uses ninja equipment. So my daughter got me the game software and I have been spending the last seven days playing the game. I really surprised my self when I started the game because it is a difficult game requiring a lot of hand eye coordination, concentration and an ability to react fast to threats.

Initially it was difficult as I was unfamiliar with the game console. However, as the game proceeds. I became better at it. I find that my learning curve is steep but effective. It was hard work as I sat hours after hours in the adrenaline pumping game, under stress to perform correctly and to stay alive. The ninja have certain fighting skills I have to master; his weapons and projectiles, his health and chi powers.

The game play was enjoyable. It is like a interactive novel where you are a hero and the outcome of the novel depends on what you do. Although there is not much area for character development, I was gripped by the storyline, wanting to see how it turns out. The short clips of video between major section are good, equivalent to those you see on the cinema screen. The only problem I have with this game is the violence - ninja fighting involves killing and slashing. There are lots of blood and flying body parts.

As I thought about it, this is no worse than watching Frank Miller's movie 300. What amazes me in the hours I spent on the game is that the game itself has many built-in principles of learning especially self directed learning. Though I have been an advocate of computer games as a medium of learning, I did not realise that in a game like Ninja Gaiden, the need to utilise the principles of learning is required before one can play the game well. And I think that is the beauty of the game. One can have a lot of fun without realising that one is learning or developing learning or problem solving skills.

Here are my five observations:

(1) To play the game, one need a satisfactory eye-hand coordination. It is a fast moving game so what the eyes see must be translated into hand movement quickly. Learning to do this takes times but it is a pre-requisite to play the game. So it is learning by doing. Repetition until your eyes coordinate fast enough with your fingers.

(2) The second principle is persistence. A game player can only finish a game by being persistent. He or she must be willing to spend hours repeating the same number of moves until they get it right. This is essential because the game will not allow you to proceed until one has done so.

(3) Game play require thinking about strategy. This is reflection in learning. When an approach doesn't work in the game, the player will think of another approach, and another, and another, until he or her hit on the correct one. The player is taught not be afraid to fail but to try try again until successful.

(4) During the game, players have to be observant for clues and items they can pick up which will lead to the next level of game play. In other words, they are being taught data collection.

(5) Playing this game need high concentration, commitment and focus. I believe this is the same with intense study. I find it interesting that playing an XBox game involve the pedagogy/teaching principles of repetition, persistent, reflection, observation and commitment.

 In seven days I finished 10 chapters out of 14. This my daughter tells me is pretty good. I guess you can still teach an old dog new tricks.  










|posted 2 January 2009|


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