Princess Natasha – An Action Reader

By kylemawer  

This game actually has a built-in walkthrough and lots of text to challenge your learners. There are also some nice reading puzzles too.  The content and look of the game also makes it very child friendly.  I also like this because the main character in this game is a James Bond like character but is female rather than male.

Level: Upper Intermediate

Location: Computer room

Skills Focus: Reading

Game: Princess Natasha: No Vacancy

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What preparation is involved?

This game needs little or no preparation.  You may like to play the game yourself first and make a note of some of the more difficult language items within the game but I have found it’s nice to have this one as a back up game for this level when something that you planned to do can’t be done.  You can then deal with learner’s language issues reactively as they happen.

What is the game about?

At the start of the game you get a Screen shot 2010-05-26 at 9.24.36 AMmessage on a mobile from a king like character.  This character sets the scene and tells you what your mission is.  The nice thing about a lot of text in this game is that the gamer has to press the next button to move on.  That means they have as long as they like to read the text, ask you any questions if they want to, before moving on.  If you are playing this game in the computer room then learners are quite autonomous.  You may choose to control the game a lot more and use it in a connected classroom.  If you do you can allow your learners time to read the text (as well as yourself) and then ask comprehension check questions about language or context based on what you predict your learners may have difficulty with.

Screen shot 2010-05-26 at 9.21.27 AM

How do I play the game?

In the bottom left hand corner of the screen there is a question mark.  Pressing this at any time during the game gives you a pop up hint window.  This is essentially the walkthrough and tells the player or hints at what they need to do at this level of the game.  Again the language stays on the screen for as long as the gamer wants.  They can close it by clicking on the cross, see the next hint for that level or view them all again by passing through all the hints at that stage and clicking on the ‘?’.  If they close the hint window and reopen it, the hints continue from where you left off.

What reading puzzles are there?

Screen shot 2010-05-26 at 9.24.21 AMOf course, the hints mentioned above don’t always tell you everything but may just hint at what you need to do.  ’Review the parrot handbook . . .’ is one such hint and the gamer is directed to find a book, find the relevant section in the index section of a book and then read and understand the information within the book to then continue playing the game.  I encourage learners to ask each other about different language items, to ask me or to use an online dictionary.

Follow up activities

  • Finish the game at home if it wasn’t finished during class time.
  • Note taking on any interesting language items (check out the password options at the big metal door).
  • Write a walkthrough using their own language.
  • Write a Spy’s report on the mission.
  • Write a story about one of the scenes in the game (outside the house, in the house, under the house).
  • Write a review of the game.




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