Big Deal Media

K-12 Technology

Nov 01, 2021 2021-11-01

Digital Learning • Learning Support

Visual Novel Game Bringing an Episode in Japanese History to Life

Ako: A Test of Loyalty takes students into the story of one of the most famous episodes in Japanese history. Students take on the persona of Hashimoto Kanpei, a young samurai in Japan in 1701. In that role, they have to make an excruciating choice between family and honor—either go into impoverished exile with their mother and sister who will need their help to survive, or join their fellow masterless samurai in a quixotic quest to avenge the death of their dishonored lord. Which do they choose? This visual novel game gives students many opportunities to influence the fate of the protagonist and those around him. By making decisions, students have the potential to unlock five alternate endings that trace what might have happened. There are no right or wrong answers. Players must weigh the potential consequence of their actions on Kanpei and those he cares for. Ako: A Test of Loyalty was created by a team of four undergraduate history majors at University of Texas at Austin, with no specialized training. It is part of the Epoch: History Games Initiative, which aims to generate a pipeline of historically accurate, freely available games for use in the classroom.

Social Studies Cultural Awareness Gamification/Game-Based Learning Reading/English/Language Arts

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