Introduction to Wheels of Aurelia
“Take the Road Less Traveled,” is the page line for Wheels of Aurelia and the game involves just that. As the character Lella, you embark on an eventful road trip along the Via Aurelia. Along the way, you interact with hitch hikers, engage in car races, even rob banks, and much more. If you like driving, beautiful scenery, and interacting in languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian, then this game is for you. It is important to note that this game is intended for mature audiences, so keep that in mind before you start.
How to get the game
- Go to the website http://www.wheelsofaurelia.com/
- You can view a one-minute demonstration of the game as well as various screen shots. More extensive demonstrations of the game are available on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivWHqQNUby8
- The game is available for purchase on the App Store, Steam, Xbox one, PlayStation4, itch.io, and PressKit.
- After purchasing, don’t forget to check your email for your access key. It may take a few minutes to arrive.
How to play (see in game tutorial as well):
Your objective is to interact with a variety of passengers passengers and find out why they are traveling the Via Aurelia. Your trip will differ based on your conversations as well as on your choice of city to visit. The game does not follow a level-to-level format. Instead the goal is to re-play the different levels until you discover all the possible game conclusions (16 in total). For example, you might conclude gameplay by helping a priest make amends with his mother, winning car races, catching criminals, or even settling down and having a family. Click here for help reaching all possible conclusions. https://www.trueachievements.com/game/Wheels-of-Aurelia/walkthrough/3#ap225912
The first thing I noticed in playing the game is the fun music! It has a groovy soundtrack as should be the case with any good road trip. The music shifts depending on which city you are in and what’s happening in the game. For example, there is more upbeat music for car chases and more relaxing music while cruising.
This game is intended for mature audiences. It includes explicit language and topics including abortion and bank robbery. The game is advisable for young adults and adults. There is also an above beginner level use of language, so Novice Low-Novice High learners may have difficulty in understanding the game narrative.
While playing Wheels of Aurelia, users can interact with Wheelspedia, an innovative in-game feature in which the player can pause and learn more about a person, place, or event from the game dialog. The language in Wheelspedia is directly from Wikipedia and is a good potential springboard for individual student research. Of course, this is also useful for improving students’ reading skills, especially since they can read more about topics they find when browsing both Wheelspedia and Wikipedia in their free time.
Vocabulary: This game is the perfect companion to a unit about travel. Students playing the game have the potential to learn vocabulary for driving a car (e.g., turn left/right, speed up, slow down, pull over, be careful, sideswipe, car accident, etc.). Students could even practice this vocabulary by narrating their gameplay out loud.
Pragmatic competence: Another cool aspect of the game is that you interact with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. This can help increase students’ pragmatic competence as they are able to see how a dialog and interaction shifts depending on who you are speaking with and what you say.
Project-based learning: Finally, this game has great potential for project-based learning. One option is to have students work on an individual or group project based on something they learned in Wheelspedia or on a city they passed through in the game. Another idea is to have students do further research on a topic from the game and share it with the class. An alternative option would be to plan out a road trip with a partner and figure out where they would go in the world, who they might meet, and why.
In sum, Wheels of Aurelia is both fun and useful for language learning. I recommend testing it first before encouraging your students to work with it. If you choose to use it, I hope you and your students have a great adventure taking the road less traveled!
Check out http://www.wheelsofaurelia.com/ to get started! Divertiti!