Bedlam

The main feature of this new rogue game from Skyshine,  is a vehicle that is named the “Dozer” (looks like a modified bulldozer). You man this special vehicle as you are trying to escape from your home in the city of Bysantine (a reference to the Byzantium of ancient times, perhaps?) and safely reach the city of Aztec (referring perhaps to the ancient South American civilization?). Anyway, the raison d’etre is to somehow escape the tyranny of a local warlord-king, who goes by the name of King Viscera. The journey is not smooth however (its an action game, remember?) and you are accosted by various characters such as wandering warriors, groups of fiendishly hostile marauders, mutants, cyborgs and even rogue AI. Also you may run into hostile events that keep you from reaching the safety of Aztec city.

Every turn that you get allows you two actions, that including moving around or attacking an enemy. You use the characters with you to accomplish this however and they may get killed while fighting the enemy. They may use weapons such as “puke” (LOL really) and shotguns to make them into a pile of bones, literally! Many of the powers that you have are from the Dozer itself and you can use these to heal your compatriots, find hidden food and fuel and locate maps.

Bedlam game

If you battle the various enemies and defeat them, you can capture their dozers as well. These are different from your dozer in that they have special powers. For example a cyborgs dozer can have teleportation powers. Sometimes you also run into special characters called as “Elites”. They are tougher to beat as they have more strength and powers-but it is worth battling them because if you beat them, they join you! Yes and that increases your chances of winning manifold as they now fight for you.

However be sure not to lose all the passengers and compatriots on your dozer, because once that happens, the game ends.

Our review: A very interesting game with lots of twists and turns. It does getting used to, but you start enjoying it after a while. The educational value is not so much ,since there is little strategic depth that the game offers. It is more entertaining than informational.

Contradiction

This is another in the Detective game genre. You are a Police Inspector named Fredrick Jenks (incidentally the name is similar to the Inspector Jenks in the Enid Blyton Five Find Outers childrens adventure book series). You have to find out the real cause of death of a doctorate student in the village, that is shown as a suicide. Your only leads are a handful of clues and some interviews with locals, who are surly and non co-operative in general. The skill lies again in organizing the statements of the locals and listing them in a way that brings out conflicts in different statements and in the body of every statement itself. This is in fact how real detectives work.

If you catch a lie, then you get more information. This allows you to ask more questions and get more answers, all of which may not be truthful. You again try to trap the contradictions and nail the lies, to get at the truth. One advantage of the learning aspects of this game is that it is a ”thinkers game” and not based on some split second pushing of buttons. There is no time pressure at all, allowing you plenty of breathing time to review information, make hunches and proceed.

Contradiction-1

Contradiction has been filmed in a remote village in Cheshire County in England . When you walk the streets at evening or nighttime, it does give an eerie and scary feel to the game. The music is haunting by Tim Follin.

The only disadvantage of the game is the lack of a good system for keeping track of testimonies of people, by which you can easily spot contradictions. But then I suppose, this will really sharpen your memory and the learning quality of the game is enhanced because of it.

Volume

Another game that is excellent and is also new, is Volume, designed by Mike Bithell. The game relies heavily on “pattern recognition” to score points. Now this skill is very useful, in a lot of fields, right from forensics of cyber security to stock market trading (e.g. technical chart analysis, which IMHO is nothing but recognizing different patterns and acting on them to predict market movements). Most people make good use of their pattern recognition skills to make a ton of money or a rewarding career. Volume requires this kind of skill as well as a sense of geography, to win.

The game itself is set in England several decades ago. One Guy Gisborne has managed to corrupt the country’s political systems to create a rapacious and malevolent corporatocracy. Robert Locksley is a hacker and activist who breaks into the simulated nerve-centers of Gisborne’s power apparatus to steal incriminating data, which is then shared with the downtrodden people. The whole exercise is transmitted via some futuristic video channel and hence the camera angles and view from top that is shown.

The game itself is a series of about 100 or so Isometric (in laymans language, 3 –D) maps of different places, with the view from an angle at the top, as if you are watching a CCTV camera. The map has a series of obstacles, structures and guards. The hero is actually a thief, who has to dodge the obstacles, guards and booby traps to win the booty. The Hero gets nice gadgets to escape and trap the guards, such as lures, decoys and even an invisibility cloak!

Volume1

Another theme that comes through is a kind of Robin Hood type setting, where he “robs the rich” and “rewards the poor”. In this game the rich are the corporatocracries, who have captured money and power by corrupting the political system.

There are plenty of text notes that help in giving a contextual feel while playing.

Several educational benefits are available. One is the usual skill of collecting information, trying to gauge the adversaries skills and assets, manipulating adversaries to have advantages over them, decision making when confronted and so on. Also it also has a well themed economic lesson that is hard to miss.

All in all, an excellent addition to your PC collection!

Plants versus Zombies

Plants Versus Zombies

PlantsVersusZombies

This game pits plants against zombies (some kind of robot looking creatures) that will invade the players homes and “eat their brains!”. The only defense against this invasion is a set of plants and fungi, that he can place in the area surrounding his home. The area is divided into about 5 or 6 lanes, that the zombies can take and the player has to strategically place plants, that have different properties in various lanes, to prevent the zombies from entering. This kind of game is called a classic tower defence game. The learning possibilities are understanding the concept of “Layers of Protection” widely used in many fields, from Industrial Safety systems to security of critical installations. The concept is that no attacker should be able to penetrate the defense (Tower) with just one breach. Thus if one thinks of a castle, then there are different layers such as a moat, filled with crocodiles and piranha, then a drawbridge, then guards on the watch tower who can shoot arrows, etc. So the attacker cannot enter based on just one victory.

Similarly in this game one can select different types of plants and mushrooms to prevent the attacking zombies. One such example is the Magnet-shroom, which can remove any metallic items from a zombie, such as helmets, ladders, and even pogosticks.

 

Process Safety

Process Safety

This is from Abhisam.

HAZOPGame

You can play this game online or on your PC. This game helps you gauge how well you know process safety concepts, such as HAZOP, LOPA, Risk Assessment and other such topics very easily.

The game is a football (FIFA) based Penalty Shootout game quiz where you are allowed one penalty kick to start with and as you answer questions correctly, you keep on getting goals.All questions are of the multiple choice, single correct answer format.

At the start you have to enter your name and start. The first question appears. If you answer it correctly, then press the Kick button, you land a goal! If your choice is incorrect and you press the Kick button, you miss, then the goalie saves the goal and flings insults at you, like “Do you need glasses?” etc.

The crowd keeps on roaring and cheering in the background, making it a thrilling experience. The sound effects are great. Many learning games of this genre do not have such realistic sound effects or such a good cast of characters such as the goal keeper, who comes off as a conceited and ill mannered character, who plays his role very well.

The game’s creators say it can be adapted to any topic and not just Process Safety. We selected this because it is unlike any of the other standard ones out there and looks very realistic. The learning outcomes are very straightforward. Either you know the exact answer or you do not. If you answer even 5 of the 8 questions correctly you win the Football (World?) Cup!

Will be very interesting for trainers in the Process Industries such as Oil and Gas, Chemical, Power Generation and so on to evaluate concepts amongst the employees (who are supposed to know them thoroughly well anyway).

 

PC Games for learning