Nick Bentley Games

Frankenstein Doing Science

Though I have a near-psychotic obsession with games and game design, I’m also dimly aware that many games are mostly idle pastimes. I wish it weren’t so, because it’s uncomfortable to be so possessed by something so frivolous.

Thank goodness then that once in a while a game appears with real-life value beyond simple pleasure or diversion. This essay is about one such game, called Zendo. In fact Zendo has more real-life value than any other game I know, because it is, bar none, the best method I’ve ever come across for teaching science and scientific thinking. I want more people to understand what an important learning tool this game is.

When a kid first learns about science in school, she usually doesn’t actually learn science. Instead her teacher makes her memorize a collection of trivia and calls it science. Then the kid gets bored and stops caring. That’s how it was…

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