Do Educational Video Games Actually Work? [ article ]

So what did we learn today? If you said, “That infographics can be inconclusive” then you’re correct.

Leapster Explorer 2

As a father of two, I can tell you that educational games can work when done correctly. Both of my daughters have Leapster Explorers and have both gained considerably from using them. One example is my three year old daughter who learned how to write her both her upper and lowercase letters from a Leapster game. She honestly has better penmanship than most first graders and she’s not even in Kindergarten yet.


  • Kaye

    I am personally more biased that educational video games help in the classroom.

    From kindergarten to 6th grade, I always played Jumpstart during the summer before that particular grade. (Mind you, I’m a 20-year-old junior in college now.) I was exposed to many concepts that we went over (or never went over until the following grade) in the under-performing public schools I attended in MS.

    Come second grade, my folks get me Grammar Rock from the Schoolhouse Rock set of PC games. That same year, I had a b***h of a teaching assistant that just didn’t like me and would put me out of class for no apparemt reason. I missed the section on adverbs covered in class, and we had a test on them, too, but yours

    • Kaye

      ***truly did fine because she knew the material beforehand.

      Also, playing video games and reading game manuals and guides (like the socially awkward kid I was then) did increase my vocabulary level.

      So, in a nutshell, using video games help a lot, but only if you convey the use of them

      • Kaye

        ***to your children correctly.

        P.S. Never commenting this long from my phone ever again. /Fail

  • Matt

    My parents bought me “Mario’s Missing” on the snes when I was younger. Not a particularly hard game to beat, but I enjoyed it and I learned so much about the world. Educational games when used correctly can be a great asset.

  • BaloogyMcBoy

    I had one of THESE bad boys: (The Tiger Electronics version) and honestly believe that this is a MAJOR part of what developed my curiousity and drive to learn. It also helps that I had educated parents who encouraged and helped me learn all sorts of things (including video game design and programming!)

    It takes more than a video game to educate a child but in the future they’re going to be a big part of the equation.

  • Saethori

    I grew up on edutainment games, especially those from The Learning Company.

    Not only did they do wonders for my learning (enough to combat autism), they also happened to be some of the most entertaining games I’ve ever played in my youth, even moreso than the ones for the SNES/Genesis I had.

  • Lars-Erik Utberg

    What I really want from this info-graphic is more specific sources and also some articles. Maybe from some pedagogy periodicals.

  • PrinceJonathan

    Never really played any “educational” games growing up. I can remember when I was real young, like 6 or 7yrs old, going to K-mart and Wal-mart (this was back when Wal-marts were tiny compared to the eldritch abominations they are today, I remember the food court chili dogs were awesome, fuck Mcdonalds). I’d want to play the SNES Demo in the electronics department. A Mortal Kombat demo was the first game I played and MK does not make a great first impression. My parents labelled videogames “Satanic” and refused to let me play any for about another 5 years when they forgot MK existed and bought me an SNES and some games from a pawnshop. Their excuse was “it improves hand-eye coordination”, which even I knew was a load of shit. Even today I still can’t catch a fly with my bare fingers. Although I did rather badassly backhand a bottle my mother threw at my head several weeks ago without flinching, my wrist hurt like hell afterwards, but even she admitted that was cool.

    Funny thing looking back…my mothers a Mortal Kombat fan now (mostly of the movies) XD!

  • Matt Edens

    I have to say I think educational games are a definite benefit but maybe more geared towards home use then in school. I had one of these at home and I know it helped me get to the level of understanding of mathematics that I have today. If/When I ever have kids I will have some sort of edutainment for them to use. I will also have the just plain fun games but it will be regulated and watched.

  • David

    Frankly, stuff like math blaster or carmen sandiego should be set up to be used as an actual school curriculum. I couldn’t tell you anything I learned in World History class from high school, and yet I can still remember stuff I picked up from my where in time is carmen sandiego game from 15 years ago. (Just recently turned 24). Had an old game called Alien Tales (also known as Reading Galaxy these days.), and could do spelling/reading better then most of my class. Had Math Blaster games, and Math used to be my favorite subject.

    Interesting coincidence, educational games like that tend to stop around 6th grade. And for some strange reason, I suddenly have harder times in the classes I used to be awesome at. Course to be fair, I also moved to another school district that same year, and that couldn’t have helped either.

    Yes, games like that help. No question in my mind, as long as the kid is wililng to play them, as opposed to just shoving it at them which I’d imagine would have the opposite effect.

  • Falos_Zamsash

    Though I did play a couple of educational games as a child (Math Blaster and Spelling Jungle) I don’t really feel like they really taught me much but I basically learned how to read through just regular games because I would always ask my parents to read what was on the screen but eventually they refused so then I had to figure it out myself. xP And I also think that a lot of my vocabulary comes from games since at least two English teachers have asked my class a word expecting none of us to know but I did, I learned both from RPG’s :P