Educational content should be an everyday part of your designs. It takes so little effort and reaches so many people, especially young people, that there is simply no reason not to include it. Adding educational content is easy, personally rewarding and it doesn’t need to detract in any way from game play.
Imagine that you are working on a game design project and that the publisher funding development summons you and your peers to a meeting. At that meeting an executive from the publisher explains that the project, a video game intended for multi-platform release to a broad general audience, will be rated for educational content. Your immediate response is,
"But wait! This isn't an educational game, it's a popular game," and the publisher explains.
Your right. It's not an educational game. But the fact is our game is going to be rated for educational content anyway, and the rating is going to be provided to parents over the Internet. In fact, we're considering using the rating on our box art, if you can get us a good grade. We feel that if parents like our game it will boost sales, and to be perfectly honest, if we can please more parents without detracting from the game, well, why wouldn't we want that?
Someone in the room says, "If it feels like an educational game the fans won't like it."
The rating people know that and they agree. They aren't asking us to make an educational game. Instead, they want us to become aware of the educational content that's already in our games, and where it doesn't interfere, they are asking us to consider using more. They say we're already doing it, just not always intentionally.
Will they rate us fairly?
The GRADE people are being reasonable. They use eight categories that give us every opportunity to earn points and they aren't rating us against an unrealistic standard. They rate us against our competitors. Naturally we'd like parents to think of our games, first, when they go shopping for a game that offers that little something extra for their children. For that matter, we think it would be good for our industry if we could honestly say that we intentionally add educational content to our games. Designers, can you give us more educational content?
The obvious answer is "yes" you can. The only question is are you willing. If you are a parent or otherwise close to someone young, the incentive is clear. If you aren't let us suggest that the small investment of time spent blending something educational into a game is well worth the effort. Why wouldn't you want to benefit your fans, especially the younger fans and those fans who may not be as fortunate as you to be exposed to education in other parts of their lives? The ball's in your court. When you have the opportunity, remember to blend in something educational. Parents, children, gamers and Artificial Wisdom all say, Thank You.