No, no, not me and my mentor-teacher after we graded a stack of 30 multi-draft essays–we’re talking about a videogame. English of the Dead is not a joke, but an honest-to-goodness game produced in Japan for all those gamers who would like to work on their English and destroy a few zombies.
You can even try out the demo yourself: Flash demo of English of the Dead! Wait for it to load. If you want to hear sound, click on the “No” symbol labeled “ON” in the upper right corner (how nice that it defaults to silent, if you’re in the office!). Then click on the bottom of the two screens displayed on the DS. When the zombies pop up, click on the correct English word to fill in the gap. Unfortunately, you may be at a disadvantage–my Flash doesn’t display the Japanese translation correctly, so I missed one due to two possible answers.
This probably isn’t the most pedagogically sound piece of software in the world, but if it’s entertaining and keeps a user interested in learning English, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. At the very least, it gave me a laugh, and I hope it amused you, too.
Japan is actually pretty serious about educational games. The DS is a perfect platform for this, because it’s very portable, has both button and stylus input, and is popular with people who’d otherwise be considered non-gamers. (It’s also relatively inexpensive, and I actually really recommend the DS Lite for English teachers who need to blow off some steam, particularly those who commute on public transportation. More on this later–and no, Nintendo’s not paying me! I spent my own money on that Wii.)
If you are dying (HA!) to know more, DS Fanboy has all of the relevant posts collected under a tag.
(N. B.: A quirk of DS Fanboy–besides the noninclusive blog name, darn them–is that links to external sites that are the main point of a post are hidden under the “Read” link at the bottom of the post.)