I have just started creating a city-state on a free strategy game called Grepolis. My experiment is to have my Grade 11 Theatre students start playing it together, building their own cities. Once they have them up and running we will approach the text of Antigone, Oedipus Rex or another Ancient Greek play. Having done these plays with classes before I want to see if “immersion” in the Ancient Greek culture via the game allows them to approach the play more easily and quickly. Theoretically it should as, I am hoping, doing this will remove the need to explain an aspect of the culture every other sentence! I, for example, had to construct a temple to continue and can now have weddings, cast spells and so on – as a 21st Century teenager I might now get the constant reference to the gods in the Greek plays.
I will be waiting until I have played the game myself for a week or so to make sure there is no demand for orgies or the like as part of the gameplay. Explaining that to parents would be worth recording!
If this works then I will begin searching for other strategy games that allow the students to experience the historical contexts of other plays – The Crucible, Julius Caesar, Our Country’s Good, etc.
I will update as my odyssey progresses…