Level: Upper Intermediate/ mature students
Location: Connected Classroom
Skills Focus: Reading/ Speaking
Language focus: Meaning from context/ hypothetical situations
Game: Mr. Vengeance
This game contains scenes of cartoon violence (against stickmen) using guns and with scenes of blood so discretion is advised when using this game. Adapting this game came about as a result of mature students in a private class asking for a game that was more like a first person shooter such as Call of Duty, which in turn was the best-selling console game of 2011. This has graphics no way near as good as the afore-mentioned game which, to be honest, was one reason I chose it. I mean, they can’t get their way completely now can they?
Mr. Vengeance follows a character who worked as a cop. The prologue in the game explains how he returned home one night to find his family had been killed by a gang of criminals. Mr. Vengeance then decides to take justice into his own hands and kill the gang responsible for the death of his family. My question to you is, could this be used with one of your classes or should it be avoided.
I based the pedagogy on Dogme principles laid out in Teaching Unplugged: Dogme in English Language Teaching.
At Digital Play we always recommend that you play a game before trying it out with a class for a number of reasons. Not only does it help you to familiarise yourself with the games language content and play but also, and this is important in this game, to check for visual and language content that is inappropriate. There is no bad language in this game but there is a drug reference (the gang produces a fictitious drug called ‘V-intro’) and there are scenes of a violent nature using guns.
- Hangman console games.
- Brainstorm console games.
- Students rank the games in order of most violent to least violent.
- Feedback and find out who has played which games and what they think of the use of violence and adult themes in console games.
- Explain they are going to play a game called Mr. Vengeance and to predict what the game involves.
- Explain the controls in the game:
As you play the game ask questions and encourage discussion about language, context and content within the game. There is a lot of text and you have to click to get past this so this is an excellent opportunity to discuss these points. The shoot-em-up parts of the game can be played by a volunteer using the mouse but be careful that they don’t click past any text. As soon as the shoot-em-up sequences finish you should ask the volunteer to sit down. You can then ask the class how well they did, how and when they could have done better and what should they do now (reload, add health, look out for corners etc).
Here is an example of some of the language from scenes that appears within the game (black) and possible questions you the teacher can ask (blue):
Darling, I am back! How do you say darling in your language? What do you say when you get back home? What can you see when you are standing at your front door? It sounds a little unnatural, how do you think I’d change it to make it sound more natural?
How did this trash get into my house? What does he mean by trash? What is it? What does it look like? What could it be?
Ding-ding Who do you think it is phoning? What does your phones ring tone sound like? What does your mobile ring tone sound like? How often do you change it?
Hello, someone has got into my house, please, call the police! It sounds a little unnatural, how do you think I’d change it to make it sound more natural? Would you say that if you thought someone was in your house? What would you do? What would you do once you put the phone down? Instead of ‘got into my house’, what else could you say?
Is it Mr. Vengeance’s house? It sounds a little unnatural, how do you think I’d change it this time to make it sound more natural? What other ways can you start a phone call?
Yes! Do you hear me? Someone has got into my house and it seems they are stil here, please, call . . . This doesn’t sound right either, how do you think I’d change it to make it sound more natural? What’s the difference between hear and listen? I don’t think it’s a real question so what is he saying and why? What makes him think they are still there?
Wonderful. I’m afraid I can’t help you. Why does he say wonderful? Who do you think it is on the other end of the phone?
Who’s that? I’d say ‘this’ instead of ‘that’, but can you tell me why?
The door is jammed, I can’t open it. What other words for jammed can you think off? What do you think is jamming the door? What should he do? What would you do?
(stop at the next door before you open it ask for a volunteer)
Elicit the game controls:
Space = health
Left click = fire
At the end of the shoot-em-up sequence ask the volunteer to sit down.
Basically, this activity should evolve around the interactivity between the game and the class, the teacher and the learners and between the learners themselves. If the class gets involved in lively discussion at any point and you feel they would benefit more from a discussion in pairs and small groups then do so.