A Slower Speed of Light

Emerging Technologies and Edtech April 16, 2014

Country of Origin: USA
Languages: English
Developer: MIT Game Labs
Publisher: MIT Game Labs
Year Published: 2012
Website: http://gamelab.mit.edu/games/a-slower-speed-of-light/
Platforms: Windows, OSX, Linux
Genre: Simulation, First Person Puzzle
Age Range: 12+
Subject: Science

In A Slower Speed of Light, players control a small ghost-like spirit who can collect orbs to slow down light. As a result, the character’s walking speed approaches that of light, creating a relativistic environment. The effects of that are immediately visible, as objects in the environment seem to bend and the far ends of the light spectrum – like ultraviolet – become visible.

Much of the game’s learning and subject matter is nowhere to be found in the game proper. Left to their own devices, players are likely to have an interesting experience, but not one with strong outcomes. With instructor mediation, however, it becomes clear that A Slower Speed of Light is a great tool for making a very complex subject tangible and relatable.

Where many educational games can feel like they’re trying to shoehorn in learning, A Slower Speed of Light is on the opposite end of that equation, where it becomes possible to miss the learning entirely. But with the right context, the deceptively simple gameplay and the unique way that the game ties its learning to an accurate physics simulation of relativity makes it a standout addition to any physics lesson. Younger players will enjoy the visuals and responsive environment, but the subject matter is likely to be over their heads.