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Take The Road Less Traveled: Wheels of Aurelia Review

Source: Wheels of Aurelia

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

  1. Go to the website
  2. 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.
  3. The game is available for purchase on the App Store, Steam, Xbox one, PlayStation4,, and PressKit.
  4. 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.


Reviewer’s notes:

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.


Target audience:

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.

Source: Wheels of Aurelia

Pedagogical uses

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.

Source: Wheels of Aurelia

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.

Source: Wheels of Aurelia

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 to get started! Divertiti!


-Zach Patrick-Riley


A Review of Quandary: Engaging Players in the Consideration of Moral Dilemmas


source: Quandary (iOS)

As it’s name would suggest, Quandary is a game of social and moral dilemmas. It provides players with a series of quandaries that must be solved through collaborative interaction with the game characters (the colonists of a futuristic society on the planet Braxos).The player’s job is to act as captain and keep peace within the society.

Quandary not only has immense potential for language learning, but it also requires higher-order thinking and problem solving in order to successfully complete the game. Quandary doesn’t push a specific political or moral agenda. Instead, it provides a wide variety of potential solutions, making it the player’s job to make decisions based on his or her own moral code.

Overall, gameplay is fairly quick. Depending on the age and level of the students, gameplay should take somewhere between 2-3 hours to complete the entire game. The game can be played in English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, and Turkish. Additionally, the game is available for Android (tablet only), iOS (iPad only), and web, making it a highly accessible tool for classroom use (check out the website for additional resources for parents and teachers).

Source: Quandary (iOS)

Game Play

Quandary is comprised of four chapters Chapter 1, “Lost Sheep” deals with livestock security; chapter two, “Water War” deals with private vs public property; chapter 3, “Fashion Faction” is about uniforms; and finally, chapter 4, “Mixed Messages” touches on cyberbullying. As captain, the player’s job is to find a solution that he or she believes will best benefit the society and will receive the support of the town council. Game play begins with a brief comic about the issue at hand (depicted below). The captain is then given the opportunity to listen to the thoughts of each colonist (depicted above). Some colonists present potential solutions, while others present facts or opinions. Players must sort the cards into the proper category to receive points. After sorting through everything, the player chooses the two best solutions. These solutions must be presented to the colonists again, using relevant facts to sway their opinions. Finally the player chooses their favorite solution and sorts the colonists by who they feel will agree or disagree with the choice. The final solution is given to the council who decides whether to support, modify, or reject the proposal based on its popularity with the colonists. Successful completion of the game requires that students listen to the colonists and comprehend their opinions. Each task allows for the accumulation of points and the overall goal is to complete the game with as many points as possible. This is done by properly sorting cards, listening to each colonist, correctly using facts, and asking the opinion of each colonist before making a final decision.



Quandary has immense potential in the language classroom. Each chapter provides ample opportunity for contextualized vocabulary acquisition, and the card sorting phase specifically, provides a great space to increase language awareness by examining the structure and tone of language used for stating opinions and language used for stating facts. As a result, this game can be a great starting point for increasing students’ digital literacy by aiding in their understanding of linguistic tone and pragmatics via reading the colonists statements.


Additionally, the game lends itself well to a variety of ability levels (novice-advanced). Students with relatively low proficiency levels are able to engage in meaningful word-level examination, and the audio recordings of the colonists’ responses allow for multimodal exploration of content. For more advanced students, the game provides scaffolding for discussions about pragmatics, cultural morality, and implications in the real world. Since gameplay is short in comparison to other games there is room for creative and potentially lengthy extension activities. This allows the game to be tailored to even the most advanced students. Quandary’s greatest asset is its flexibility of use, making it a wonderfully engaging tool for any language class.

Source: Quandary (iOS)

-Isabelle Sackville-West


FluentU: A Blog for German Language and Culture

Here at Games2Teach, we are always looking for resources where language learning and gaming intersect in meaningful ways. In a recent post from FluentU, a blog about German language and culture, they wrote a post about various techniques on how to practice listening, reading, and even speaking skills in German. From listening to commentary while playing a soccer game to making difficult decisions for characters surviving in a zombie apocalypse, this blog post gives a number of helpful suggestions for people who are interested in using games to teach German. The post also gives some ideas on how to use games at various proficiency levels, which is often a difficult thing to gauge for those who are looking to use games for the first time. Take a look for yourself by clicking on the link provided here!


This War of Mine: The Little Ones Review


This War of Mine keeps players in a constant state of worry, forcing them to make decisions that not only affected the progression of the narrative, but also impacted the outlooks of the other characters. Set in an unnamed Eastern European country in the midst of a civil war, you play as a group of civilians who are trying to survive by any means necessary. This requires the player to craft resources and build up defenses by day and scavenge materials, steal medicine, or even kill other survivors at night. The game is difficult; you are constantly short on resources, underfed, and mending injuries, with one wrong move costing you the life of one of your survivors. The difficulty is purposeful, since the message of the game would be lost otherwise. This War of Mine shows the player the struggles that people must endure when the world around them is irrevocably changed by forces outside of their control as well as the issue of survival at the cost of humanity. As the game progresses, various encounters present themselves that force the player to make those difficult decisions, which will affect the outcome of the game in addition to the disposition of your survivors.


In the new expansion for PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One called The Little Ones, players experience another layer of complication – surviving when a teenager and a child show up at the entrance of the settlement. The older one asks you to watch over his brother while he goes with a group to scavenge for medical supplies. Should you accept, the brother runs off and never comes back, leaving you with a young boy that cannot defend himself and needs just as much care (if not more) than an able-bodied adult. As if the original game was not morally ambivalent enough, you now have the life of an innocent child to consider when making your decisions. Do you take the time to play with the child when he wants to, or do you ignore him so that you can board up the holes in your settlement? Do you leave the child alone and undefended at night so you can get more supplies, or do you keep someone with him at all times? These kind of decisions make this expansion so much harder, but at the same time so much more engaging.


With this new gameplay dynamic comes a number of new features for the player to dissect. While the child you watch over does not contribute to the functionality of the group at first, you can have the adults teach the child how to perform various tasks around the settlement. This is important to establish early, since the further you progress in the game, the more you will need every able body to help keep the settlement in working order. Just as important as giving the child tasks to do is the ability to help pass the time either by making the adults play with the child or craft toys. Very much like language learning, the child starts off with very little to contribute, but the more he interacts with the people around him, the more experienced he will become.


Another dose of realism hits home when you notice the individual personality traits of every character under your control. As much as you may not like it, Bruno is addicted to cigarettes and if you do not make an effort to get them for him, he will suffer because of it. In addition, if you kill another person while you are scavenging for supplies, your character will be drastically affected by his actions. This comes into play with the new expansion in The Little Ones, where you control a father named Christo and his daughter Iskra, which starts out rather light with Iskra running around with seemingly limitless energy as Christo scrounges up some firewood to cook a meal. Depending on how much attention you give the daughter and how you interact with others, you will affect the way their relationship plays out in the game. Unlike other video games, Christo is not a hardened action hero or a space marine or a seasoned war veteran, he is a regular person, ripped from his regular life and forced to survive in a city torn apart by war. In turn, the player can imagine that they are in his situation, and in effect relate to the context and become more invested in the story.


So why use this serious, dark, violent game in the classroom? Simply put, it allows the learner to get exposure to a context that they may not have any knowledge of and engage their mind in high levels of cognition. According to Sykes & Reinhardt, game designers “use narratives, which include characters, stories, and images, to contextualize game rules and structures,” which allow for “goal orienting, afford interaction, and animate feedback mechanisms” (82). Essentially, players will be more likely to play the game if they can invest their time and energy in a compelling narrative. A great feature of This War of Mine is the player journal, which keeps track of important events in the game as well as personal developments within each character’s inner dialogue. This in-game mechanism could easily be modified for a number of different extension activities to explore character motivations and create fictional narratives to explain how the character ended up in his current situation. Next month’s post on Games2Teach will dive into that in more detail.


This War of Mine: The Little Ones is an incredibly impactful game that immerses players in heart wrenching experiences and assessing how they would fare as an innocent bystander in the midst of a city at war. The controls can take you out of the experience from time to time, since it is definitely frustrating when you try to sneak by a raider only to have your character sprint right in front of him and alert the entire camp.  If you are willing to set the clunky control scheme aside, this game has a compelling message to share and will make you appreciate the little things in your life that you take for granted.

-Ben Pearson



Sykes, J. M. & Reinhardt, J. (2013). Language at play: Digital games in second and foreign language teaching and learning. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.