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Duolingo... the video game?! ๐ŸŽฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Published 23 days agoย โ€ขย 5 min read

hola ๐Ÿ‘‹

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when I was a kid, I was absolutely obsessed with Pokemon.

I loved the TV show,

the trading cards,

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and I ESPECIALLY loved the video games

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my first ever game console was a Game Boy Color.

but it wasn't just any old Game Boy Color...

it was a special edition Pokemon Game Boy Color...

I absolutely loved that thing

poured so many hours of my childhood into it

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and yeah -- most of that time was spent playing Pokemon ๐Ÿ˜‚

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...so you can imagine my excitement when Duolingo decided to launch a brand new mode that looks just like it...๐Ÿ˜ฏ

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Duolingo: the game ๐ŸŽฎ

cast your mind back a couple of weeks ago and you may remember me mentioning it

it's called 'Adventures'

a brand new level-type coming to a learning path near you ๐Ÿ‘€

at the moment, it's only available on the French course for a select few Android and iOS users

if you've got it, i'll look a little something like this...

they start from the first unit of section 2

from then on, there's usually at least one adventure per unit

as with other levels you can go back and revisit your previous adventures as and when you please

how does it work? ๐Ÿค”

let's take a look at the first adventure from the French course as an example...

in this one, you have to help Lily give Junior and Eddy directions to the museum

((they're not from around these parts so they desperately need some of Lily's local knowledge))

the first thing you'll notice is an exclamation mark above Junior's head -- this means he needs your help...

all you have to do is tap him and Lily will walk over

((you can actually tap on pretty much anything you want and Lily will walk over and interact with it))

Junior then asks some questions, and you respond with one of two multiple choice answers...

if you get stuck, you can tap the words to get a translation ((just like in your normal lessons))

it seems Junior and Eddy are a bit lost and could do with a map... problem is, their map is so dirty they can't even read it!

what could Lily do? ๐Ÿค”

this is where you have to check out your surroundings and look for something that could help...

what about that bucket of water next to Falstaff?...

you walk over to Falstaff and ask if you can use his water

when he agrees, you pick it up...

then head back over to the map to clean it...

et voila! the map is clean, and Eddy and Junior can find their way to the museum

cool... so what? ๐Ÿคท

you might be wondering why Duolingo would bother to create a mode like this

like how is this supposed to help you learn a language?

well, like with everything else Duolingo is built on, the idea is to make language learning fun

gamification has always been Duolingo's way of doing this

so adventures is basically the next step on that path ๐Ÿ’ช

the cool thing about it is it's really interactive

you have to understand what's going on in order to know where to go next

and you can tap on pretty much anything and it'll give you the French word for it...

what I really like about this is you get to see the language in context, which is something you don't always get in the ordinary lessons

it's usually just one question after the next

but in adventures, you get transported into another world

so rather than just learning that a bucket of water = un seau d'eau,

in adventures you learn it by talking to a giant bear...

just look at all that context

he's got a bucket of water right next to him

and you get to pick it up and clean Junior's map with it

it's just a load more memorable -- this is the sort of thing that sticks

the good stuff ๐Ÿ‘

Duolingo's only just launched adventures so you can expect there to be some creases to iron out

and while there definitely is some room for improvement, they've actually done a really good job at launch ๐Ÿ‘Œ

scenarios

for me, the best thing about adventures is how they put you in close-to-life scenarios

i.e. you're transported into a fictional world but there are some obvious parallels with real life

i've already come across loads of conversation starters and bits of vocabulary I'd use if I were knocking about the streets of France

getting directions, buying things at a supermarket, going to the airport etc

basically just interacting with people, which you don't get much of in the ordinary lessons

Duolingo gets a lot of stick for its weird sentences so it's cool to see a mode with some practical vocab

accessible

each adventure is snappy and straightforward, which is great if you've got a short attention span or you don't feel that confident in your target language

most adventures tend to only last a few minutes tops

and better still -- there are no hearts ((or none that i've seen anyway)) so you don't have to worry about making any mistakes

fun

I can't sit here and say it's Pokemon-levels of fun ((nothing comes close to that))

but for a language-learning game, it's pretty good

it's not that difficult, but it's actually pretty satisfying figuring out where to send the character next

it's like solving a little puzzle

the more of your language you know, the easier it is

and as you do it, you're picking up loads more useful vocab by seeing things in context

beats reading a boring old grammar book any day of the week

the not-so-good stuff ๐Ÿ‘Ž

that being said, adventures won't be to everyone's liking, and there are definitely things Duolingo can improve on.

not very challenging

it's good that each adventure is accessible, but sometimes they can be a little too accessible

there's not really any challenge

most of the questions are multiple choice with just two possible answers

and if you pick the wrong one, you don't lose a life or anything, it just goes grey and you just pick the other answer.

there's a little bit of challenge when it comes to directing your character about

you've gotta know what the other characters are saying in order to know where to send your character

but if you get stuck, after a few minutes a little exclamation mark will appear over where you need to go

so there's definitely a lot of hand-holding

some will probably appreciate this, but others might get a bit bored

robotic

another issue is the way some of the characters come across.

now don't get me wrong, Duolingo has done a good job bringing its characters to life in adventures

they all sound as we've all come to expect from the standard lessons and stories

problem is, they can sound a little bit robotic and inauthentic at times, which can cut the immersion.

not a massive issue in the grand scheme of things, just makes it seem a little less real

could be longer

I also think it wouldn't hurt to make some of the adventures longer

i've only gotten up to the ones in section 3, so maybe the ones in the latter sections will be

however so far i've been getting through them really quickly ๐Ÿ’จ

it would be cool if Duolingo added a couple more 'lessons' to each adventure step on the path, just like in the standard levels

that way they're satisfying those that like the shorter sessions, but also letting users dive into the scenario even further


alright

so Duolingo's new mode isn't quite Pokemon

--you're not running around throwing balls at weird creatures and sending them into battle--

but you can ((kinda)) see the similarities ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think it's gonna be hugely popular if they can roll it out to more courses

alongside Stories, Radio and Roleplay, Duolingo's slowly putting together a nice lil library of cool new modes for users to get stuck into

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...and next week, I'm gonna tell you about yet ANOTHER new mode they're adding to that list... ๐Ÿ‘€

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see you then ๐Ÿซก

Ciao for now,

-Matt

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p.s. be sure to check out this video I uploaded a few days ago of a FULL 3-minute adventure from the French course โ–ถ๏ธ

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eat ๐Ÿฝ๏ธ sleep ๐Ÿ˜ด streak ๐Ÿ”ฅ repeat ๐Ÿ”

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