My Word Coach: Vocabulary Training

Recently Ubisoft received a lot of praise from Nintendo for their My Word Coach title. Specifically, Reggie Fils-Aime said, “You got it. You guys got exactly the type of game we want for this machine.” And Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, went so far as to treat the Ubisoft team as an internal developer, sharing game design philosophies for the DS and Wii.

After spending a few days with the game, I have to say Nintendo was way off with their effusive praise but Ubisoft is on the right track nonetheless.

The stated purpose of My Word Coach is to improve your vocabulary. Sometimes the game achieves this goal and other times it fails miserably. The game was created in partnership with the National Center for Family Literacy and in association with Dr. Thomas Cobb from the University of Quebec at Montreal. While it’s tempting to discount the game because Dr. Cobb teaches at a francophone university, he does have the credentials to be the creator of this game – not just a technical advisor. Continue reading “My Word Coach: Vocabulary Training”

Assassin’s Creed

We’ve been seeing previews for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed for about a year now, and the finished product lives up to nearly every expectation that’s been set .

The first thing that surprises you about this game is its setting. Contrary to what the trailers would have you believe, the actual setting for this game is in the near-future. All of the Crusade-era stuff is actually a virtual-reality representation of Desmond Miles’ genetic memory. So while Mr. Miles is a simple bartender, his ancestor was Atair Ibn La-Ahad – a member of the ancient order of assassins. He’s been captured by a secretive organization, Abstergo Industries, that’s probing his ancestral past for a hidden memory. The catch is this crucial memory can’t be accessed unless he relives the memories that preceded it. Continue reading “Assassin’s Creed”