Making Curriculum Pop

Games you wouldn't think had the potential for educational value Part 2

(Note: Sorry it took so long to get to the next one, but the holiday madness hit pretty hard this year, not to mention some family troubles so I've had a lot on my mind recently. Thank you all for your patience and I hope you enjoy the next installment of my blog.)

The Pheonix Wright Series


This game series is very near and dear to me for many reasons. Not only does it have a fun set of stories and lovable characters, but it hones and sharpens a skill that I have always struggled with, reading (But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me introduce you to the game.)

Pheonix Wright, a series of handheld games for the Nintendo DS was developed by Capcom and released in the year 2005. I had heard interesting things about it but I never got the chance to play since I didn't own a DS. It wasn't until my first year of college that I finally picked up the game and started to play. Three games later, I have a newfound respect for the profession of defense and prosecuting attorneies. The story of the game focuses on the titular character, Pheonix Wright. A defense lawyer who has only just begun his career, under the tutalege of Mia Fey (a professional defense lawyer). Things change however, when Mia is murdered by an unknown assailant determined to pin the blame on Mia's younger sister, Maya. Despite the overwhelming odds against him, Pheonix must come to Maya's defense and figure out the identity of the true killer. I'm only scratching the surface of the game's story but it leads to a lot of interesting cases, which all eventually lead to the courtroom. The characters are all quirky in their own way which makes getting through case after case a lot more fun, disguising the difficulty of the gameplay itself.

This game is normally split into two sections per case. One the investigation, where you need to travel between different areas talking to witnesses and collecting evidence. Which is followed by the trial, where you listen to the witness' testimony and read through it in order to find a contradiction. Pheonix Wright is a game that requires a lot of attention to detail in not just looking for evidense but also in the words of the witnesses. If you find a contradiction or lie in what they are telling you, you need to present specific proof from the evidence you have previously collected. This game really pushes you to figure out how certain pieces of evidence correlates to the case on your own in order to get to the truth and discover the real perpetrators. Some of the later installments have even included other various puzzles such as reconstructing a piece of evidence, surveying a video recording for clues and so forth. As a person who was born with dyslexia, I thought this game was going to be more than I could handle. However, even though it took some time, I was able to overcome the challenge and the reward for doing so was very satisfying. Like, I said earlier this game also provided a neat look into the career of a prosecuting and defense attorney. Demonstrating on how important it is to have faith in people, even though the people may not be who they say they are.

Again I'm not sure that this game series is something that can be shown in a classroom, anyone who knows a student that needs training in reading skills should recommend this game to parents. The game itself is at a very affordable price and the original DS costs about $79 used, a lot cheaper than they used to be, I can assure you. If you have the spare time, check it out for yourself. You can also look up videos on the various cases on Youtube.com.

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