Games present an interesting environment in which students can learn and practice a language. The Cave is an interesting game that was created for a Sony Pictures movie back in 2005. I came across it on a recent timely post on Digital Play — just in time for Halloween and just after 33 miners were rescued from a mining collapse in Chile. (Obviously, a teacher will need to determine whether this is an appropriate game for younger students.)
Digital Play is a great resource for online games for students because each one is couched in a simple lesson plan with suggestions for whether the game is appropriate for a classroom, computer lab, or independent use. Interestingly, Digital Play includes a walkthrough — a solution to the game — in the form of a diary account of the only survivor, which they player can become upon completion of the game.
Many games have walkthroughs available online. Most are created by users or fans and some are created collaboratively as the game is solved. Walkthroughs are very popular with the latest cutting edge games that can take tens of hours to complete, but solutions are available for almost every game. Just Google the name of the game along with terms like walkthrough, solution, or help.
The way the walkthrough used in the case of The Cave is a very creative solution. It can serve as additional reading for students to support their understanding as well as assisting students in completing the game. Walkthroughs can also be good resources for teachers who want to support students that get stuck on one part of a game. In a language classroom, getting stuck actually presents an opportunity for students to interact with each other by making requests and helping each other, so a teacher jumping in with the solution should not be the first resort. In fact, it has been argued that walkthroughs ruin the experience of a good game because it can be too easy to look for the answer instead of working to solve the problem for oneself. But, for teachers who are nervous about using games in the classroom, it’s good to know that solutions are available.