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January 22, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Wizard101 and the Benefits of Educational Games

In a previous post I discussed some of the benefits that can come from online games. That post was driven primarily by the experience I had speaking at a conference and being concerned that so much of the press and academic focus was on the potentially negative aspects of gaming. I was thrilled to read a recent article on Venture Beat where Dean Takahashi had a chance to have a conversation with Mark DeLoura, the senior adviser for digital media at the White House. I highly encourage all of our fans to read the article and leave comments as it is wonderful to see this kind of focus on the POSITIVES that can come from gaming. If you hear cheering as you read this it quite possibly could be me still sitting in my office vigorously applauding. 🙂 This has been a message I have been trying to explain to the press for almost six years now. Perhaps more accurately stated this has been a message that we have heard from our players for the last six years. It is wonderful to finally see a well-known outlet cover the educational benefits of gaming. Perhaps just as exciting is to see the focus at the highest level of our government.

One uphill battle I’ve faced in relating our players stories was “Wizard101 isn’t a true educational game”. I guess in the most technical sense that rings true. Wizard101 isn’t a “Math Game” or a “Spelling Game” that was designed specifically as a game to teach math or to teach spelling. Of course, neither are some of the games that DeLaura references including Mine Craft (a wonderful building game). But the root of that argument is that if it isn’t a game specifically designed to “teach math” then it cannot help players obtain increased mathematical skills and thus is not an educational game. That argument seems about as flawed to me as to tell a teacher it was bad to assigning Harry Potter to kids as a summer reading exercise. Harry Potter isn’t written specifically as a textbook to teach grammar or spelling. It’s not a technical book to teach English fundamentals so does it have no learning or educational benefit to the reader? I would argue that the Harry Potter series is a wonderful story that keeps people of all ages engaged, stretches the imagination and certainly helps young readers improve their reading skills. Thus, it has “educational value” to the reader. I’m not sure how many people realize the extent of reading in Wizard101 but there over 50,000 lines of text in Wizard101. I feel confident talking about the educational value of Wizard101 because of the huge number of letters, comments, emails we have received from parents and players telling us how much our games have helped them improve their reading, spelling and grammar skills.

It’s the same story with math. While not technically a math game we hear countless stories about how player’s math and reasoning skills have improved. The card game behind Wizard101 has a huge component of statistics and our players learn this as they progress. They are taught to solve problems, to reason out solutions, to understand which combinations of spells lead to the best outcomes.

This same concept seems even more so when it comes to teaching creativity. Is Wizard101 technically an art game? Nope. But tell that to the thousands of fans who’s art submissions we receive (we have entire walls in our office decorated with fan art). How about to the players that have written thousands of pages of creative stories inspired by Wizard101? In an era where programs like creative writing and art are being cut from our school systems our children need an outlet and an inspiration for creativity. Whether that is Wizard101 or other forms of inspiration.

There last area I would like to touch on that was discussed in the Venture Beat article is the growing opportunity in our economy and workforce for actual technical skills. Skills like computer programing, digital art and engineering. While games like Wizard101 don’t really “teach” these skills I think it’s very hard to discount that passion that can be driven by experiencing an amazing virtual like Wizard101. I firmly believe that many of the future employees in these fields will get their “start”, their “passion” to pursue those careers by engaging with games like those that we make here at KingsIsle.

I would highly encourage you to share your views on this topic. Clearly leaving a reply here is great but if you are willing, please go to the Venture Beat article and leave a reply. Perhaps Mark DeLoura will read your comment and help him continue to position the values of these types of games at the highest levels. Who knows, maybe if enough positive comments are left President Obama himself may read a few 🙂

Fred Howard
Vice President of Marketing


Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous / Jan 25 2014 8:25 am

    It would help with math when your dividing the pip from power pip and figuring how many you have. Wizard101 is educational I guess?

  2. Moira Legendblade / Jan 25 2014 8:25 am

    As an educator, (OMG, a TEACHER plays Wizard101???), I like the fact that the game tends to force a team player mentality on most of the players. It’s true, you will always have a maverick or two, but that makes life interesting. Also, the creativity in this game is astounding and promotes creativity within the player. Because of drastic budget cuts within the educational system, allowing our kids to have a creative outlet, be it entering the various competitions or simply decorating a house or even crafting items, all provide something toward the creative process. Thank you TEAM Wizard101.

  3. Anonymous / Jan 25 2014 9:57 am

    i like wiz its fun i use math in when i take damage from an attack
    or figure out the percentage of my shields and how much damage i’m not gonna take

  4. Destiny star haven / Jan 25 2014 10:19 am

    wizard101 is the best #1 game in the world that Kingsisle has made. I play on it with my Best friend, and it gives me quality time to spend with her. I would totally rate this a five star game

  5. Efrain Sanchez / Jan 25 2014 10:21 am

    i am a Great- Grandmother with beginning memory loss. I have significant other medical problems which often leave me housebound and at times bedridden. Wizard 101 is a great way to exercise my memory and the interaction with other players is absolutely wonderful. I have a 20 year old grandson who plays and we have become mush closer. I love this game. andMy sons both started playing Wizard101 right around when the game opened. They were about 4 years old at the time and over the years I think a lot of both their growth in math and their enjoyment of the subject has come from the game. Wizard101 has numbers everywhere – on the damage spells, on the blades, on the traps, etc. At the beginning the game helped them learning numbers, place values, etc, and as time has gone on it’s helping them learn about how values multiply together to effect outcomes (ie 25% off is more significant than adding 25%). They’ve read a lot in-game (though they’ve always read a lot both in-game and out of game). They’ve learned better online etiquette (a skill that’s becoming more and more important as so many interactions move online). I couldn’t be happier with Wizard101!

    • Anonymous / Jan 28 2014 1:28 am

      I can totally relate. If nothing else, brings back my typing. Does that mean the game helps dexterity too? lol

  6. James / Jan 25 2014 10:45 am

    As a player of Wizard101 AND Pirate101, I can vouch for the games as being a Plus to the older genation players like me.

    I haven’t had sysptoms of mental fatigue because these these darn games get my blood preesure racing. I get frustrated at times with repitious fighting, but I also get satisfaction when that quest is finally over.

    I’ve played on-line games, but I haven’t found any that are as pleasing to the eye as well as being NONVIOLENT to the extremes as many are today.

    I hope I can keep playing for a long while.


  7. Anonymous / Jan 25 2014 11:19 am

    I’m not sure how wizard101 is educational, all I know is it’s fun.

  8. Anonymous / Jan 25 2014 11:19 am

    I love Wizard101, it’s a wonderful family game! It brought our family closer. It is quite educational if I do say so myself. Calculating the number of gold you have and the gold you will need, when you can harvest your plants, how many more hit points you’ll need to win the battle, (etc).

  9. Karah Marie / Jan 25 2014 4:35 pm

    I play W101 and it teaches me to make smarter decisions. It also teaches how to manage money.

  10. tylerE / Jan 25 2014 7:09 pm

    I feel like playing wizard101 forever.:)

  11. Lily / Jan 26 2014 6:09 am

    I LOVE w101! its the most amazing-est game i have ever played! i started playing it 2 yrs ago. it taught me DONT GIVE UP!!!!!!!

  12. Mason / Jan 26 2014 8:15 am

    You know, I love Wizard101!

  13. Anonymous / Jan 26 2014 9:18 am

    When gardening you use maths and logic to pick which spell you use. When decorating you’re house you use art.

  14. Anonymous / Jan 26 2014 12:15 pm


  15. isaiah lee brandon:aka justin strong blood / Jan 26 2014 12:31 pm

    I used to play it and im about too in a sec but ive been thinking strategies and talking and helping but the game shows friendship by helping people beat bosses or monster or wsatever but it shows that freedom of playing can bring creativity for toy companies and other stuff by having an imagination and skills and it lets people get away from real life and have fun using ur imagination

  16. Anonymous / Jan 26 2014 12:34 pm

    I am disabled and I like getting on here and pirate 101. They help me with memory and when typing it takes the soreness out of my hands. Also me and my nephew gets on and we work together and help each other to plan what we are going to do. So yes this is the greatest educational program.

  17. Anonymous / Jan 26 2014 2:24 pm

    i agree fully. gaming on wizards has helped my spelling, i have decided to make games, and i love games so much.

  18. Anonymous / Jan 26 2014 3:02 pm

    Definetly agree, I get bored with repetitive of the battles but I still love the pets and spells, i got into Photo Shop because of this game and I am saving up for CS5 to design some character models for the game, thank you kingsisle!

  19. bruce / Jan 26 2014 7:03 pm

    I think that is true u should play the game it is very fun and president if ya read this please listen to kingsisle they don’t lie

  20. Roxanne / Jan 26 2014 11:29 pm

    In a way though it can be seen as a maths game, as when I want to level up and i’m almost there, I always check my experience on my character page and calculate how much I need, then I always check to see what quests can get me that experience points. And because we can’t type in numbers we have found out other ways to communicate that. And then when in battle, and we have very low health we well I look to the opponents pips and guess if I could survive, if they are fire or storm they have a higher chance of fizzling, and if they have three or more pips I know there’s a chance I won’t survive.

  21. Zack / Jan 27 2014 5:40 am

    Wizard101 is a great game, I have improved in some if my skills great job Kingisle!!!!!

  22. JumpinJJT / Jan 27 2014 9:59 am

    This game is probably one of the oldest games that I still enjoy playing. If I ever get bored or have nothing to do and don’t want to play on a playstation, I usually fall back onto this game because I know I will enjoy it when I get on. You can try to get gold to benefit purposes of whatever you are trying to accomplish, train and hatch pets till you have a pet that is very powerful and benefits you in any battle, garden a bunch of funny plants, or have fun battling either silly or very serious enemy creatures. I spread this throughout the family and friends and managed to get some into it. Without a doubt this is the best computer game I would ever recommend.

  23. dianawelsh13 / Jan 27 2014 10:25 am

    My 10 year old daughter was having a lot of trouble with spelling. She tended to spell things phonetically instead of correctly. So I switched her from ‘menu chat’ to ‘text chat’. Now she spells better in general, because if she wants to communicate with her friends in Wizard, she has to spell correctly or the system edits what she says. It’s better than spell checker programs because it doesn’t correct it for her, just tells her when she’s wrong.

  24. Sandi / Jan 27 2014 12:43 pm

    Wizard101 is great as a strategy game and very helpful to those of us older than 40. Whereas it is positive in this aspect, many of us adults seriously question the cheating that goes on from the bosses. In retrospect, this does send the wrong message. Bosses should not be casting spells that there is no accurate pip count for nor should they be cheating overall. This should be changed across the board and make it more fair if this game is to be a “teaching” game as well the cheating from bosses should be stopped. Also, the higher up realms should be more one player friendly as there are many times I do play alone and find that I have to use a lot of crowns to by henchmen to survive. I give this game close to 4 stars… it would be 5 if there was no cheating from bosses.

  25. Anonymous / Jan 27 2014 1:20 pm

    This is true in many ways, and PVP is a test of wizards! The test of knowledge in your gaming. The ranks often show what level your skill is, unless you don’t like PVP (I can’t imagine who doesn’t!), or are not a member/have no crowns. Some bosses questing cheat in this game. So, you have to set your deck right and go in with your best shot. As a player, I know how important it is to have friends on the game. I suggest to everyone before they start playing, find a friend to help encourage you.

  26. Sharif Corbin / Jan 27 2014 4:19 pm

    it actually can teach some math with traps and blades and shields cause you can learn using percentages by using strategy and more

  27. Anonymous / Jan 27 2014 4:36 pm

    strategy is education because do you want to shield or attack first even in chess.

  28. Anonymous / Jan 27 2014 4:39 pm

    I agree all games ore a bit educational. Even bad games are educational. Because they tell you to plan then do. If you go out in the open you need to make a plan to escape or not get seen.

  29. Anonymous / Jan 27 2014 5:47 pm

    I think wizard101 is a great game for both educational reasons and fun reasons. As you go through the game you must read a lot. It also has math like when in combat and you take damage or you heal and use shields. It is a game that most of my friends do not play anymore and that makes me sad. Middle school kids and above just are not interested in these games anymore. I think that if more young children played this game, grades would increase, reading and comprehension skills would be better, and math skills would also be better.

  30. Anonymous / Jan 27 2014 6:28 pm

    wiz is my favorite game keep the game going as long as possible never take it offline and yes it helps me with math XD

  31. emma / Jan 27 2014 7:19 pm

    wizard101 is really fun it fun for my brother, my dad, and me. it is the best I hope you make I new one

  32. Brenda / Jan 27 2014 7:48 pm

    I am an adult that has worked in the health field for over 20 years. I have been playing Wizard 101 for about 2 years now. Not only do I believe that Wizard 101 is educational but I highly believe that just the game interaction and following the quests sharpen the memory. I work with people with dementia type disorders and I have introduced some of them to the game. It helps them focus and gives them some social interaction.

  33. Anonymous / Jan 27 2014 8:10 pm

    As a player of the game I know I have often used creativity. I often was able to be creative in my houses, and had friends who I knew in school who played and we had created an entire story of our characters and often would take breaks from quests to just play. I also have written a few stories about my character. I found the game a way to be creative as well as learn to cooperate with others who I may not know. When you go into say Waterworks if you go in alone with people you do not know, you need to know how to communicate to say if someone is Life they shouldn’t attack and come with a plan. So it helps with communication skills too. You will not always work with someone you know. Even in school and the real world.

  34. Anonymous / Jan 27 2014 9:04 pm

    Ever since I had started playing this game my skills at school have increased reasonably. I get a lot of good grades. I had no clue this could have been the reason.

  35. rileyfink2001 / Jan 27 2014 9:23 pm

    wizard101 rocks i love it becase well it just rocks!!!!!!!!

  36. Anonymous / Jan 28 2014 1:30 am

    How could something that makes you think, not be educational?

  37. tommy / Jan 28 2014 8:39 am

    wizard101 brought gaming to the next level. I like it for a lot of things like my firecat and all my pets I WANT THEM ALL!!!!!!!!!

  38. zainab / Jan 28 2014 9:12 am

    this is fun and educational 🙂 i hope you put more strategy in the game so we can work our minds and it can be fun at the same time ;D.

  39. edgar / Jan 28 2014 10:01 am

    i like too know that thier are people out their trying to help kids like us playing wizard. i know how to do additon and subtraction by playing this game cuz i figure out how tough i have to be to take on other monster. if they make this game with some other math helping technecks. my school might evern aloud us play wisard 101 in school and cound for education perfuse. and that would be so cool.

  40. brandon preston / Jan 28 2014 10:18 am

    amazing game

  41. Anonymous / Jan 28 2014 10:53 am

    i think wizard101 has math fact value through certain spells, like tempest and judgement. say Kane Firebreeze is going to cast tempest and has 4 pips and 2 powerpips. tempest is a storm spell and Kane’s school is storm. no myth monsters are in the battle. how much damage will tempest do? see what i mean?

  42. Gary S. / Jan 28 2014 11:25 am

    The concept of learning in online games is a great thing I only wished that more teamwork was allowed like when your getting a new spell to use only that person is allowed inside the challenge can be adjusted with more players involved.

  43. Cindy / Jan 28 2014 11:43 am

    I think this game is educational. It teaches children some math. After all they have to have enough life force and mana to live and to do spells when in combat. But the most important aspect of Wizard101 is the community and how it takes care of our very young players by being very careful about what they are able to write about themselves and where they live in chat. I am an adult and have never ever recommended online games to anyone until Wizard101. As a matter of fact Wizard101 was the first online game I have ever played. I love it, and while I dont have as much time to play as I used to, it is an excellent game that teaches children the power of working together or alone and teaches them something about community which I think most cities or rural areas are missing in todays day and age. Keep up the excellent work.

  44. Anonymous / Jan 28 2014 3:41 pm

    Wizard101 is a very great game that will not be a distraction but an online game where you can have fun and learn correct grammer and some math. Reply if you think you could compare wizard101 to roblox (another game with educational values.)

  45. Destiny Seacloud / Jan 28 2014 10:11 pm

    I definitely love Wizard101. It has helped me grow my self confidence and helped me become more social. It has also made me more in touch with my inner spirit which helps with standing up to bullies and so much more. I would love to come visit you and find out where you came up with this inspiring game.

  46. Benjamin Headrick / Jan 29 2014 12:01 am

    I’ve been playing Wizard 101 for a couple of years now. Though I am not a Teacher or Student by profession. Wizard 101 does in a strange way allow me to solve problems that may come in every day life to me. It does this I believe by reminding me that there are other ways to solve a problem not just conventional, therefor perhaps I should not give up but to persevere until a solution is found. I can only hope that the makers of Wizard 101 at Kingsisle continue producing such an amazing game for years plus to come.

  47. Anonymous / Jan 29 2014 2:09 am

    That is totally and completely correct. Wizard101 has helped me and many other people get to appreciate music, art, reading, and get better at puzzle solving sometimes!

  48. Brenden Abdoian / Jan 29 2014 6:51 am

    wizard101 is my life! thanks for making it. 😀

  49. gmaof4ggmaof3 / Jan 29 2014 7:05 am

    I am a great grandmother who plays Wizard101 with grand kids and great grand kids. I see the benefit of learning math through the spells used and reading along with characters giving information to learn to read. But I also see, as being an older adult, the benefits of keeping my mind alert and working on solving math problems through the spells. Also are the quests that you have to figure out puzzles like reading and figuring what color to change a fire, or remembering a list of characters (tree, beetle, gator) in order to light up to move on. I also think that eye movement improves thinking and learning by moving your wizard without getting pulled into battles may just help in that way. Learning to play well with others is also something learned when trying to win battles with other players. Learning manners like thanking someone who has helped you in battle and going to a battle to help lower level players with quests you have already accomplished teaches something people need to know in real life. If you take time to look at all of the graphics and realize the hard work for all details that go into just the settings (scenery) of the game you teach people about art and it is an art that one can learn that may not know how to actually draw or paint but can learn and feel a real accomplishment. Most important, it brings families together to share time and fun while learning together. It is amazing what children can see that adults might miss because their brains are not full of every day problems and a life of information where we tend to over look some interesting things. All of the things to learn and best of all the game is just a whole lot of fun! By the way, I play with people of my own age too.

  50. Anonymous / Jan 29 2014 11:15 am

    this blog rocks 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 😉 😉 o.0

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