Where Are the Video Games for Adults?

Does learning end when you get older?

That would seem to be the case based on a festival held in NY. I generally don’t write about education, but the coverage for developers that want to create games that effect change got me thinking about why mostly all of them were for children.

Educational games bring in about a little over $8 billion to the U.S. economy. At a high level, the industry would agree that educational titles are truly complementing book learning and traditional classrooms.

But hearing these important folks giving this festival, I picked up on something in the discussions: Educational games were always implied to be for kids.

Don’t get me wrong. There were a few games shown at the festival that were geared in a way to teach adult concepts that may or may not matter in an adult’s life. The most efficient one for me was Parable of the Polygons, which energetically showed how small individual prejudices can, in aggregate, allow segregation.

But what about an upfront lesson? You might want to take another shot at calculus, figure out what happened in the Civil War, or learn code, yet you haven’t set foot in a classroom in years. Sure, you can watch an online lecture or read a book. But I’d bet plenty of the educational games you’ll see are obviously for the younger crowd.

The closest thing to what I’m talking about (some educational/learning tool or app for adults) is possibly Duolingo, a well-known mobile app for learning new languages.

But that’s just one subject. The gaming industry really feels that its software can alter our brains and not just satisfy parents who are anxious about their child’s homework. The bottom line is there’s a big untapped group of adult dummies that want to learn too.