Many a time have I shared the idea that Kaverini seeks to teach, and then people from many backgrounds tell me that, given how much more popular titles such as Candy Crush Soda Saga (which I’m aware of only through NYC Subway Advertisements) than anything that seeks to teach anything, that I should expect total financial failure.
Here’s the thing: I’ve noticed two things about 21st century America, which I glimpse particularly well in Manhattan:
(1) The general level of cultural and scientific literacy leaves something to be desired
(2) People are addicted to their devices
Granted, Kaverini is not a game for a device…YET! But the Physical Edition game will be the forerunner to something you can play on your electronic device of your choice.
When I was a child, my parents severely limited the time that I had to play non-educational computer games (such as playing them once a month). Educational ones, on the other hand, they let me play as often as I wanted (within reason, obviously, and not when I had homework and not on school nights).
The collection of edutainment games we had was, as a result, significantly immense, and I’ve noticed something while looking back, something that I’m not the only one to say:
The key to a good educational game is to teach people in a way in which they don’t realize that they are learning.
Call this the “Trojan Horse” technique, if you will. Adult brains often are hardwired to spend more time on fun tasks than on laborious ones, BUT…if you can disguise a learning experience as a fun task? You override the system, in the same way that the Trojans were defeated.
It is true that many games can be educational experiences even when they are not marketed as such. I, like many other people in my demographic in the early 2000’s, fell to the wonders of Magic: the Gathering, and teachers remarked that players of the game had improved vocabulary and math skills (no surprise), not also to mention that a significant amount of the cards had worldly cultural references.
Kaverini is nowhere near as dark nor as serious. And unlike many other games, it works cultural knowledge into an active game mechanic.
Take, for example, a wonderful card that you may have the privilege of playing with in under two weeks:
Oh, one more revalation: wondering what the card backs are? They are flags of countries. This card will have the flag of the Faroe Islands on the other side, an homage to the fact that one of the Islands’ significant tourist exports are puffin toys.
That’s the Merkið (pronounced “Mesh-chee”), the Faroes’ Flag that will adorn the other side of the Puffin card. That design will obviously look familiar to many of you.
Put the Puffin on a character with the U.S. Flag? Not a Nordic Cross, because it does look like the flags of those countries. Put the Puffin on a character with the flag of Åland (a group of islands between Sweden and Finland, Swedish-speaking but under Finnish control?) Given that it is a Nordic cross, you get the bonus!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Copyright 2015, Jared Gimbel, Kaverini Korp and WorldWhile Comics