When working with Defender of Azekal I had a few criteria other than it simply being an educational game. I’m a long-time supporter of free software, and though Stencyl itself isn’t FOSS it has a number of things that are very enticing from that perspective.
As a game designer with a focus on the educational, one of the important things to consider is how to best present content, not only in terms of the educational aspects, but in terms of density and continuity, and how believably I can work in the elements to the game.
One of the things I noticed about the educational games I used to play as a kid is that they were designed around education. Every last part of their being was educational, except for sometimes a tacked on narrative that served to get players to think that there was a larger objective (Climb Reading Mountain! Rescue the Polygnomials!) in the game while the truth is that there was actually more of a focus on getting as much material to the players as possible in a short amount of time, guaranteeing that the watchful eye of parents saw only educational material on the screen. Not all of these games were bad, at least not from my younger perspective, and there were some that were actually pretty good, but these ones tended to do well in spite of themselves. Continue reading