Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a multiplayer flatscreen screen or VR game that can be played using a Samsung Gear VR with a Samsung phone, Oculus Rift, Play Station and Steam gaming platforms. The version that I used was for the Samsung Gear VR. The game was played by having one person in virtual reality disarming a bomb while the other person is outside of virtual reality reading a manual on how to disarm the bomb. There is a time limit for each bomb disarmed which adds tension to the experience. The challenge component of the experience is that neither person knows what the other was seeing. This make communication critical for the success of both parties.
I first tested this game out on my family. It quickly became a favorite activity in the evenings and allowed for great family bonding times. It was sort of like playing an old card or board game. Recently, I took it into my classroom for the first time. I decided to try it out and on some of the members of my high school coding class. They seemed to have loved it or at least passionate about it by the way they yelled at each other out of excitement. We used up most of the period playing the game.
It was interesting to see how the students interacted with each other. Like what I mentioned earlier, the key to this game is communication. The communication needs be strong between the person looking at the bomb as well as the one that is reading the manual. The manual consists of several pages of text and symbols that can be found on the bomb. The application of these elements are complicated at times because their implementation can change based upon certain circumstances.
As I watch the students play I begin to think of how they were communicating with one another (besides the yelling). The precision in the words they used became important as the game progressed. It became evident to me that there were times when things were easier to explain such as color. When more complex patterns and puzzles begin to develop, word choice had to become more intentional. “Thingy” no longer worked as a way to identify and element on the bomb or manual. Students who took their time or at least could process information better under a stressful situation were able to create subtle and better descriptions to help in solving the puzzle and therefore were able to be more successful.
With the exception of the time limit. I begin to think about my science classroom it specifically writing lab reports were precision is an important component of science process skills. Students struggle with observation and more specifically descriptions of what is seen during experimentation. Some students get careless in the way that they record their visual data. They will often lack depth in their procedures over there data over there conclusions. This is where I believe the education value of this game comes in. The game helps teach both parties how to become more detailed and gives them more experience on how to become more detailed in describing things.
Another advantage is that there are science and other elements found within the system. Elements such as Morse code, if-then statements, a dichotomous key like procedures, frequency, capacitors, computers and electronics language is expressed.