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A Scott Pukos Pop-Ed: 'Stroke Hero' and Today’s Video Game Culture

Here’s something that caused me to guffaw out loud: There is a video game called Stroke Hero. That’s a real thing. It’s also designed as an educational tool for kids.

And your first thought when hearing Stroke Hero was incorrect. It’s actually a short video game to teach kids how to recognize symptoms of a stroke and call 91. Still, I found out the hard way that it’s awkward to tell your co-workers you’re about to go home and play a few rounds of Stroke Hero.

In conclusion, the name is unfortunate. But what really caught my eye is the idea of teaching kids through video games. Gadgets and games are such a large part for children growing up today. That’s fine — video games have been a part of growing up for a long time. The generations of the Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, original Nintendo and even Atari are probably nodding.

It’s not uncommon to see a child’s face buried in a screen, so using that to teach them something potentially life-saving isn’t a bad idea. Also, teaching youth through games is not a new concept at all. Carmen Sandiego, Oregon Trail, etc. blazed that particular trail.

Again, the large-abundance of games doesn’t bother me … as long as it’s not killing imagination. It seems like a long shot for that scenario to come to fruition, but the increasing popularity of things like Angry Birds and Flappy Bird doesn’t exactly inspire creativity. Also, fuck Flappy Bird. My high score is 7, along with some shattered confidence in my thumbs. It’s awful.

So, how can games inspire kids to think beyond Candy Crush strategies?

Any game that can inspire world building — think The Sims — would work. Games with fantastic storytelling — like the newer Batman games — are solid too.

Or how about the forgotten fun of board games? Who doesn’t like battle of wits like Stratego or Battleship; gumshoe training like Clue; marathons like Monopoly and Life; or awesome games that no one else remembers like Fireball Island? It’s time for a board game revolution, dammit!

And obviously, people (not just kids) could always just read more.

(Hops off soapbox. Goes to room. Plays Stroke Hero.)
A Scott Pukos Pop-Ed: 'Stroke Hero' and Today’s Video Game Culture Reviewed by Scott Pukos on 2/07/2014 Rating: 5

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