As mentioned in our review, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that you live in rather than just play. Part of this is thanks to the many side activities that you can do, some of which involve the local wildlife. And a biology teacher has found this part of the game especially helpful in, well, teaching about animals.
Reddit user SaiRookwood, a biology teacher from Cornwall, UK, conducted a survey with some colleagues. The survey involves seeing if the game’s immersiveness helps players learn to identify in real life the animals that appear in the game.
Overall, those who played Red Dead Redemption 2 to its story completion identified 10 out of 15 animals on average. This is three better than those who didn’t. And those that took the Naturalist role in Red Dead Online did even better, since the role involves studying animals without killing them.
If you’re interested in the scientific process of the survey, the paper claims that 586 participants from 55 countries took part. And of that number, 444 have played Red Dead Redemption 2 and most were between the ages of 18 and 34. As mentioned above, they were asked to identify from real photos of 15 animals that appeared in the game. If they were unable to, they were given multiple-choice options.
Naturally, SaiRookwood notes that they don’t recommend those under the age of 18 to play Red Dead Redemption 2. They also note that education game developers don’t normally have the kind of resources RDR2 has behind it. That, and the fact that games specifically made for education involve rote learning, rather than tying the educational aspects with experiences which makes them memorable.
This is another example of video games having a positive impact on its players, and specifically being educational at that. If history is more your thing, then Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series is a good source of learning, even if the games take a fair amount of liberties with accuracy. For a short period of time, the publisher even gave Unity away for free, since the game contains a historical structure that caught fire back in 2019.