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Jack Thompson returns, now called Marlene, fears for education

Disturbing tangental musings aside, the issue causing the game-rage this time is rather different from the usual fare. Rather than fearing that the starry future of their bright, intelligent, right-thinking children will be forever warped bytheir total inability to distinguish entertainment from reality, the parental complaint on this occasion regards the use of games as a edicational tool. Yeah, that's right. Progressive, modernised education, Whoever will save us from it?

Above: Seriously, it's uncanny.Just compare the clothing.

Marlene Thompso... sorry, Perrotte, is an Alberquerque parent incensed by the use of a game to teach maths in school. The game, funded by a Department of Defence grant, is a FPS (albeit presumably one mild of content) which requires the kids playing it to augment their arcade skills with mathematical understanding in order to attain victory. From the brief clips we've seen, it also appears to be team-based.

Personally, I think in principle it's a good thing. The problem I always had with maths as a kid was the way it always felt so abstract and theoretical, completely divorced from anything real or relevent to my life. No amount of working out projected train arrival times changed that, and in today's always-online, iPhone-packing age of convenient answers, the need for better examples of maths in actionis greater than ever. And ifthis game gives kids that, and promotes teamwork, I see nothing but a big bundle of good times, tied up with a ribbon made of unicorn smiles.

Above: Yes, that's a laser, but next to it, there is also a number

Perrotte however, doesn't agree, believing that all the game is doing is 'feeding the addiction of these children to video games'. Continuing, she claims 'They were all excited. And they were excited because of the violence. And what they recall is is not the prime number they were talking about, but rather "I was able to get through to the enemy".

Teachers using the game at Madison Middle School, however, see it as 'a 21st century flash card', adding that 'Anything we can do to meet the kids on their own grounds and educate them is to our advantage'.

Above: And you thoughtplaying RPGs on your graphical calculatorwas cool

And that's exactly how I see it too. Too many kids lose interest in education because they see it as something divorced from, and therefor superfluous to, the real world they're all too eager to explore. Show them that these subjects are relevant and truly do seep into every aspect of their lives, and do it in a fun way, and you'll get them interested in turning up to the class. Even, as Mrs. Perrotte points out, excited.

But what do you think? Can maths-based action games teach kids the practical relevance of the subject? Or are they just a flashy distraction? Let me know in the comments, orstick your opinion to our virtual fridge doors atFacebookandTwitter.

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.