Occasionally, through the mire of first-person shooters, dungeon-crawling rpg’s and good –ol’ sports games you find something that tries to do something unique, like ‘Influent’. Influent is not only a nice concept but you can also learn stuff and develop a new skill while you’re playing it.
I’m not talking about the ability to blow someone’s head off from 50 yards, or how to score a belter of a goal from the centre spot. I’m talking about an actual usable skill (of course the two examples would still apply if you are a professional marksman or footballer, but just for now I am going to assume you aren’t either of those.) Playing Influent can teach you how to speak another language.
Though, without playing it is difficult to know if Influent is primarily a game with language learning as a secondary benefit, or whether it is a language training program with a game wrapped around it. The price tag of $10 is quite cheap compared to other language training packages, but it all depends on the effectiveness of the training.
Anyway, the press release below has more information. You can find out more about the game and pick up a copy of Influent for Windows, Mac or Linux from the official Influent site http://playism-games.com/game/75/influent-with-jp-language-pack.
Learning a New Language Is Play instead of Work with Influent
Someone has stolen Andrew Cross’s invention, a device that can scan and provide the pronunciation of any object in any language, and players must help him recover it. While helping Andrew recover his creation, players acquire an extensive vocabulary in a new language of their choice. At launch, players can choose English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, French, Swedish or Bulgarian.
The game, Influent, closely mirrors the immersive process that occurs when people transport themselves to a foreign country. With less distraction, players can focus on listening and quickly absorb the foreign words, allowing them to start speaking the new language.
Using a new version of the device, called the SanjigenJiten, players explore Andrew’s apartment, a 3D interactive environment filled with hundreds of everyday objects. Players set their own pace, adding new words to their vocabulary as fast or as slowly as they wish. Mini games like Timed Attack and or Fly By, where players pilot a toy spaceship, allow players to challenge themselves to see how much they have accomplished.
The creation of Influent began as a research project at University of Tsukuba’s Entertainment Computing Laboratory studying the educational impact of video games. Rob Howland, an American conducting the research, and also needing to learn Japanese, got the idea for the game.
“As a part of the gamer generation, flash cards and text books just didn’t engage me the way games could. I just wanted to play,” Howland said. “Influent combines the effectiveness of language immersion with the deep engagement of video games. The research indicates we may be on the cusp of a major revolution in the way people acquire new language skills.”
Influent is available for $10 on Playism (http://playism-games.com/game/75/influent-with-jp-language-pack). The game includes one language of the player’s choice; each additional language pack costs $5. Each language pack includes approximately 500 everyday words. Influent works on Windows, Mac and Linux PCs with almost any graphics card.