And the trend apparently has been broken: a Sim City announcement which does not seem to detract from public perception in a meaningful way.

The latest reboot of SimCity prides itself upon each event being driven some set of signals which in turn perpetuate. Your coal industry is reliant upon a finite and definite quantity of coal. Your houses need sims to live in them to be populate. That sim needs to have a way to work. That way to work needs to have some acceptable level of traffic. You see where the complexity can occur.

EA decided to focus on the educational aspect with their recently announced SimCityEDU. Teachers will be able to create content within this version of SimCity to be used as a lesson plan for students interested in government-like topics.

I must say that I never expected EA to go directly into the teaching resources market — but kudos on them for doing that. Games teach people valuable skills. Traditional educational games really tend to be wasted time because at best they are designed to help students with quick mental reflexes and memorization — all skills easily replaced by a calculator. Designing the resource to be used as an assignment within a structure lesson plan does not fall into that trap however: students are engaged to apply knowledge and learn through experimentation.

This is the way I have traditionally explained educational games in the past: teaching students how to quickly sum up loose change at best prepares them for a career as a cashier. Giving them a scenario and letting them contextualize it into a logic problem which they then solve… now that could be powerful.