Eighties Game Review
Minimum Year Group
The computer games of the 1980s offer a glimpse of how computing used to be. Whilst the graphics and sound were not great, the game play was often compelling, open ended and creative. Find an old game you like, and produce a video review of it.
This work is shared under the following license: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC
The Pitch Why should I bother learning this?
Want to play computer games in class? Want to learn what makes a game compelling (hint, it's not graphics ; )?
Resources What is needed to run this unit?
Interdisciplinary Links Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.
Teacher Reflection What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?
This has not been run as a unit, but as a reward activity students really love it.
Credits Any CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc.
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Want to play computer games in class?
Want to learn what makes a game compelling (hint, it's not graphics ; )?
These games might be old, but there is a lot of fun to be had, and a lot to learn as well:
Choose A Game
The Internet Archive hosts a
collection of playable, online games dating from the DOS systems used in the 1980s. Use the link above to access these games.
Play some of the games until you find one that works well and you enjoy playing. Some favorites include:
Prince of Persia
Street Fighter II
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego
California Games II
Master Your Game
Use this time to play the chosen game until you feel you:
Know how it works
Are competent at playing it
Know how big it is (e.g. how many levels, map size, etc)
Know the characters and stories
Know the options
Know what makes it good
Know what makes it bad
If needed, make some notes and take some screenshots as you go.
Watch Some Reviews
Video game reviews are a particular genre, with certain qualities that we can identify:
Usually one reviewer.
Usually the reviewer is playing the game, and commenting as they go.
Usually there is some use of picture-in-picture, so we can see the game play as well as the reviewer.
There might be segments where the reviewer stops playing and addresses the camera directly.
There will be a focus on the quality of the game and whether you should buy/play it.
Find and watch a range of reviews by different YouTubers, and start thinking about your own style.
This, somewhat dated and dull review, might get you started.
This one is a lot more contemporary and enjoyable:
Structure Your Review
Hopefully you have now settled on a style for your review.
Start making some notes about:
What game play you are going to include
What things you are going to say
Where you might use camera dialogue and picture-in-picture, etc.
Try to avoid using a script that you will memorise and read back, as it will seem very stilted and unnatural: instead, try to focus on what it will feel like, and what direction it will move it.
Remember, you can film as many times as you like, and edit to bring the best bits together.
Try and plan for your review to be no more than 5 minutes in length.
Remember, quality is more important than quantity!
Film Your Review
Lights, Camera, Action
Filming is hard:
It takes time to get the camera angle and lighting right.
It is hard to find a quiet place to record to avoid background noise.
If you want a good result:
Film slowly and deliberately
Allow lots of time
Film things multiple times until you get the result you want
Check your work before packing up, to make sure the shot worked how you thought it did.
Use this time to get all of the shots that you think you need.
The following video might help you in terms of creating the picture in picture effect:
Bringing It Together
Use some movie editing software (e.g. iMovie) to turn your raw footage into a finished review.
You might want to think about and work on:
Spliting, deleting and arranging clips into the right sequence
Removing audio from certain clips
Adding music over the top
Varying the volume at certain times so it does not interfere with game sounds and dialogue.
Using transitions between clips
Using text overlays for labels
Adding intro and outro (e.g. credit) screens
Avoiding built in/default themes/looks/fonts, to give a more individual feel to your film.
During editing show your work to others to get feedback, and build their comments in as improvements.
The YouTube playlist below might help you improve your editing skills if you are using iMovie:
Export & Submit
When your work is finished, export it to a sharable format (e.g. MP4, M4V, etc), and then submit it as evidence of your learning.
Links Images Embeds VIDEO VIDEO VIDEO
Shared on 14/09/2021