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The focus of this category is on video games that are intended to teach or train the player.

This intentional merger of video games and educational software is sometimes known as edutainment. This genre differs from educational software in that it is primarily about entertainment, but uses the gameplay to educate as well, and may be marketed under the umbrella of an educational game. Usually, video games in this genre are not structured to school curricula, and may not include advisors from the education field.

Nevertheless, educational video games might play an important role in the school curriculum for teachers who have incorporated the game into their lesson plans, and who use them to teach core lessons, reading, sometimes math, and other skills. Video games can be used to hold the interest of students, while they are developing technological skills and learning a variety of lessons.

For example, strategy war games can be used to teach history and to develop strategic thinking. Empire building games, like the Civilization series, can be used to emphasize the economic, political, and military aspects of history. Geography games can use the platform of a video game to help players learn the locations of continents, countries, states, and cities. Although not specifically marketed as an educational game, the SimCity series has been used to help students understand and appreciate the social, practical, and economic processes of city government.

Several games have been specifically developed for homeschooled children or for after-school learning, while others link school curricula to the games. Education video games are those that are designed to be both fun and educational.

Disney Interactive has produced learning games based on Disney characters, such as Winnie-the-Pooh, The Jungle Book, and Mickey Mouse. Knowledge Adventure's JumpStart and Blaster Learning System also fall within this genre.

Although not widely in use, the term "edutainment" was first used in reference to what was then a new focus area for game developers in 1983. That same year, the label was placed on a package of software games for the Oric 1 and Spectrum Microcomputers in the United Kingdom that were made available through Telford ITEC, a government-sponsored training program. Most edutainment games are designed to teach something to players through a game-based learning approach. This genre should not be confused with the closely related genre, known as "serious" games, in which the primary focus is to teach rather than to entertain.

The idea behind education-based video games is that the game encourages problem-solving. Games that are fun and challenging, at the same time, encourage the student to want to persist until the problem is solved. When done well, students may not even know that they are being taught.



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