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State Dept. Releases 'Innovative Video Game'

3:54 PM, Dec 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The State Department announced the release of an "innovative video game" today called, "Trace Effects." The game is hosted online, on the State Department's website.

"The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the launch of the new American English website, an extensive online resource center for teaching and learning about English language and U.S. culture, and its innovative video game, Trace Effects," said the State Department spokesman in a press release.

The website provides a variety of engaging, up-to-date materials and resources for teachers' professional development and for use with students in the classroom. It also offers free, high-quality, non-commercial English language learning resources directly to public audiences and strengthens the skills of English teachers and teacher trainers.

The video game Trace Effects, an expanded webinar series, distance education programs and other innovative, interactive elements are available on the site.

Trace Effects, a 3D video game experience geared for students ages 12-16, supplements classroom English lessons. Students explore American culture through puzzles, activities, and adventures in an interactive world. Through the game, students take a virtual journey through the United States, traveling to locations, including Kansas, New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The game is also available in DVD format for both teachers and learners.

Here's a screen grab of the game:

And here's the game's description from its website:


A video game for learning American English and culture

Gamers interact and solve puzzles in a virtual world filled with diverse English-speaking characters. In the game, students take a dynamic journey through the United States, traveling to cultural locations like Kansas, New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. 

This innovative language learning video game will complement students’ classroom English language instruction through interactive 3-D multimedia learning adventures. Trace Effects is geared for players aged 12-16.

Game Themes

Who is Trace?
Trace, the main character, is a university student from the year 2045 who has accidentally traveled back in time to the present. In order to get home, he must complete a challenging mission to change the future for the better by helping six different young people accomplish great things and have a positive impact on the future.

Geared toward young people, Trace Effects exposes users to American society and explores themes related to entrepreneurship, community activism, empowering women, science and innovation, environmental conservation, and conflict resolution.

Game Features

  • 7 chapters of game play
  • 28 practice activities
  • 4 multi-player practice activities
  • Comprehensive teacher and student
  • 7 graphic novels for extension activities
  • Point-based scoring system
  • American English dictionary
  • Offline play option through a DVD
  • Mobile app for feature phones
  • Social media connectivity
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