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Communications of the ACM

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Bringing History to Life


Sankofa's creators are, from left, history professor Patricia Seed, computer science professor Magda El Zarki, and computer game designer Jessica Kernan.

Sankofa is a new computer game designed to bring the cultural history of Ghana to life.

Credit: Steve Zylius/UCI

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) have developed Sankofa, an immersive computer game that aims to bring the cultural history of Ghana to life via gameplay while providing a unique learning experience.

Sankofa is described as a cross-disciplinary venture into educational computer gaming that enables players to learn the history of the Asante Kingdom, a West African society located in modern-day Ghana, through an interactive, three-dimensional game.

Sankofa is a unique game because "the learning goals are different from other games, because this is really about teaching an underrepresented culture," says Magda El Zarki with UCI's Institute for Virtual Environments and Computer Games.

She notes the most challenging part of developing the game was researching the minute details associated with the Asante Kingdom's culture, such as the type of coinage that was used, the clothing that was worn, and the types of plants and animals that existed at the time.

From UCI News Center
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