Position-Enjoying Recreation “Excessive Faculty Story” Needs To Make SAT Prep Enjoyable
“SAT check preparation” is a phrase assured to evoke a mix of horror, nervousness, and tedium in even probably the most diligent highschool scholar. Cellular recreation developer Pixelberry Studios, nevertheless, believes it may make check prep entertaining by incorporating SAT vocabulary into the newest model of its position-enjoying recreation “Excessive Faculty Story.”
The socially-acutely aware startup, which tackled cyberbullying and consuming issues in earlier variations of the sport, additionally hopes “Excessive Faculty Story” will assist gamers discover ways to deal with the stress of learning for main school entrance exams.
For Pixelberry Studios, the newest model of “Excessive Faculty Story,” which is on the market for iOS and Android, represents extra than simply an replace. The check preparation options, referred to as Additional Credit score, took eight months to develop and embrace 31 challenges and minigames, with 12 extra deliberate by the top of this month.
Based mostly in Mountain View, Calif., the bootstrapped startup was based by a staff of former Digital Arts staff, together with Oliver Miao, Keith Emnett, and Winston She.
Since its launch, Pixelberry Studios’ has targeted on serving to youngsters navigate social and emotional points. TechCrunch first profiled the corporate in June, when it launched a model of “Excessive Faculty Story” meant to assist teenagers develop a more healthy physique picture and keep away from consuming issues.
Coping with such critical points may look like a flip-off for youngsters who simply need a diversion, however it has paid off thus far—the startup claims “Excessive Faculty Story” has been downloaded 12 million occasions and earned $9.7 million in income.
Pixelberry Studio says it has additionally educated greater than 4 million teenagers on cyberbullying prevention, raised $300,000 for anti-cyberbullying charity Cybersmile, and related virtually forty,000 gamers with consuming dysfunction assets by means of a partnership with the Nationwide Consuming Issues Affiliation. Excessive Faculty Story monetizes by way of in-app purchases of “rings,” the sport’s foreign money, which can be utilized to unlock premium options.
Cyberbullying and consuming issues are complicated issues, however it’s straightforward to see these situations match into Excessive Faculty Story’s gameplay. Along with constructing a highschool and making pals, every participant additionally encounters a big forged of characters and is given a number of choices to cope with them (for instance, should you run right into a imply woman or boy, you’ll be able to select to flirt, argue, or battle her or him, with every selection resulting in totally different penalties and storylines).
However how can a recreation studio make school entrance exams compelling to youngsters?
To develop Additional Credit score, Pixelberry labored with Jennifer Younger and Megan Schwarz, two writers with backgrounds in schooling. Younger, the lead author for the function, earned a M.A. in educating from the College of San Francisco. She additionally spent a number of years as a tutor for algebra, geometry, SAT math, and SAT writing. Schwarz lately graduated from Stanford, the place she majored in English with a focus in artistic writing, and presently tutors college students in SAT Essential Studying and Writing and school essays.
“SAT prep and schooling video games normally are historically a troublesome promote to teenagers as a result of these gamers are often savvy sufficient to inform when a recreation is concentrated on studying first and the enjoyable of the design second. We’ve finished the other of that,” Younger advised TechCrunch in an e-mail.
She says that the trick is to include SAT content material into the sport as fluidly as attainable. Because it’s a lot simpler to include phrases into a task-enjoying recreation than math issues, “Excessive Faculty Story” presently focuses on serving to college students with the SAT writing part by beefing up their vocabulary.
“Narratively, Excessive Faculty Story has an over-arching story about gathering pals for a faculty that the character builds. Highschool gamers encountering the schooling function are launched to a brand new character, Kallie, a pleasant however shy new scholar who has an enormous vocabulary and no pals. The motivation to study new phrases comes from eager to see her story unfold and perceive when she talks. Moreover, gamers will have the ability to earn in-recreation rewards from progressing by means of instructional video games,” says Younger.
As soon as a participant learns a phrase’s context from speaking with one other character, the sport then challenges them with a quiz that asks them to match simpler synonym to it. Then vocabulary is examined once more within the story by having gamers selected phrases to make use of in different interactions.
To assist youngsters discover ways to deal with educational stress, the sport takes them via a number of situations.
Pixelberry Studio’s COO Kara Lavatory says that CEO and co-founder, Oliver Miao, started planning for check preparation content material earlier than “Excessive Faculty Story’s” first launch in 2013, as a result of learning for checks and the ensuing nervousness is an enormous a part of life for many youngsters. Whereas enjoying “Excessive Faculty Story” isn’t sufficient by itself to get teenagers prepared for the SAT, it’s a superb complement to conventional check preparation programs and apps like SAT Up for teenagers who want a break from memorizing vocab lists however don’t need to fall behind.
“One classmate particularly, Julian, is battling teachers and could be very involved about his check scores,” says Lavatory. “Having our characters within the recreation face this difficulty permits us to speak about it in a sensible approach and we hope that seeing the characters get previous the stress, gamers will too.”