Friday, April 5, 2013

April A to Z - E is for Education in gamebooks

Before gamebooks, there were Tutortexts, books that used the gamebook format with the aim of education.  Now, gamebooks have come back to the realm of education.  Marcos Benevides uses Choose Your Own Adventure books for the purposes of education.  you can read all about it at his blog,

Name: Marcos Benevides

I'm a Canadian expat teaching English at a university in Tokyo, and also the series editor for McGraw-Hill's new Choose Your Own Adventure graded readers. I got into gamebooks at the age of eleven, when my family moved to Canada from Brazil. I have always tended to lean more towards the "book" side of the "game/book" spectrum, which is why I tend to prefer CYOA-style stories over titles with more involved game mechanics. However, I'm also a big fan of traditional pen-and-paper D&D, as well as the computer-based Civilization series.

These past couple of years I have spent most of my time overseeing the CYOA adaptations, and therefore thinking a lot about how gamebooks can be useful in education. Even outside of my area of interest, English language education, it seems to me that gamebooks have a great potential for developing critical thinking skills. My impression is that kids who are into gaming are generally more creative, and do better and stay longer in school.

I think the future of gamebooks involves a yet-unpredictable convergence of different media, from video games, to eReaders, to voice recognition and emerging tech like Google Glass. In fact, it may be that the term "gamebook" itself will become somewhat obsolete--though the fundamentals of the genre will continue in a dozen slightly different formats. It's an exciting time to be involved in creating content, and I hope to launch some exciting new projects in coming years.

You can find Marcos's blog at  

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  1. Interesting post. I never heard of the tutortexts until this post.

    Charlie @ The Semi-Retired Gamer

  2. I concur. Being an English teacher myself I'm constantly looking for innovative ways to get the message across. I suppose now I'll find out if my students share my passion for gamebooks...

  3. Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge. Enjoy the 2nd week.