by Danny Smits
Learning games can be just as fun as traditional games like Angry Birds.
Category Conquest is the latest release from language-learning gamers English Bubble and it's not shy about what it aims to do. The creators promise "a learning game as fun as the most addictive games on the app stores - a way to have loads of fun and improve your English at the same time"'.
Category Conquest is designed for English language (EFL) learners play to improve their vocabulary by 'conquering' the language. The fun categories of language, including 'Summer' and 'Jungle', are conquered simply by playing fun action games.
While playing the games, whic h involve shooting ducks and throwing stones, learners will see the difficulty increase as they learn more language and retain more words in long term memory. The idea behind Category Conquest is that players will be consumed by the challenges of the addictive games, and improve their vocabulary rapidly without even realising it.
Head of learning at English Bubble Robert Hanley, explains: "We use word-image association to aid foreign language vocabulary acquisition. Traditionally, words are taught with lists or flash cards, which are pretty boring and only effective for really dedicated learners. We wanted to shoot some ducks." But not fun at the expense of learning. "Category Conquest is based on 'Fusion' - while you're having as much fun as you would in Candy Crush or Angry Birds, you're actually learning words and improving your vocabulary. Most big games out there are great fun, but don't teach you anything, except from how to get to the next level. The brain is so switched on when you play, there's an opportunity missed there to do something constructive."
English Bubble's first product is Word Bucket, a vocabulary learning platform, launched last year and is being used by language learners in over 140 countries. Category Conquest is, according to CEO Danny Smits, "a more gamified experience that shows more clearly the direction we will take." Both games focus on vocabulary learning, an important language learning area that Robert believes "is difficult to teach, and even more difficult to make engaging."
Category Conquest is available for English learners worldwide with localised versions in most major languages on iOS and Android, with two free categories and gameplays to get you going. Each category has 50 words to conquer (including the challenging 'Elite' level). Bubble fans can look forward to much more to come, as Danny promises. "This is definitely just the start, there are lots more categories that English learners want, and we've got some interesting ideas for new mini-games too. There might be an exploding cannon at some stage."
Here's a video introduction: