Kyle Simons approached me a while back about his project on kickstarter, Magicians. It’s an interesting hybrid RPG that uses traditional storytelling along with a free dictation application to teach a foreign language. The game itself is a modern fantasy setting in Seoul, where the players discover they can wield magical power. Players soon discover that all around them is a secret hidden world of fantastical forces (some good, some evil).
There are a couple of intriguing things about the game:
Educational – I hear this sometimes about how RPGs have a positive impact on education. It’s refreshing to see a game that directly promotes learning. The key to character advancement is paired with mastering Korean. Language pronunciation and improving vocabulary is a front and center with the game.
Use of voice dictation software – While focusing on the written language is great, having additional utilization of oral communication is also important. As a westerner struggling to learn Korean, I’ve found I have to relearn how I produce certain vowels and consonants. It’s a very subtle thing to master and you don’t get this by focusing only on reading and writing comprehension.
Unique Setting – While modern urban fantasy is something touched on with different games, I think traditional Asian folklore is something that has been either ignored or glossed over. I consider it a plus learning about different legends and mythologies through the game. It can also serve as adventure fodder for other settings, and allow you to learn a bit more about other cultures.
I’m happy to say that their kickstarter campaign has been funded. However it’s wrapping up in a few days. If you have any interest in this, now is the time to pitch in. You’re jumping in on a funded project, and I dare say a unique educational application of RPGs. I think it might be something that could catch on as an alternative language teaching method. Would be neat to get in on the ground floor of this project. Check it out!