With every advance of technology comes a greater capacity to create educational tools and opportunities for anyone with access to that technology. And while, for the most part, video games are meant purely for entertainment, sometimes they’re much more than that.
That’s how it is with Nintendo’s new game for the 3DS, Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone. The game features lessons by an avatar named Vince, who teaches two different art courses: introductory and advanced. It’s the perfect tool for anyone wanting to learn about art and art history—children and adults—and is also fairly affordable at $39.99.
For beginners, the first course takes players through different art tools and how to use them. Vince then teaches players about the basic principles of drawing and painting, and sometimes even about art history. Each “level” is a different painting that players are supposed to duplicate. First up is a cherry, followed by a tulip and a tree. Later, players will be challenged with a melon, windmill, barley field, Koi fish, a human torso, and a seascape.
For those with a basic or intermediate handle on art, the advanced course is also immediately available upon the start of the game. It works with more complex concepts like color mixing and layering, faces, and famous landmarks like the Tower of London. As with the introductory course, the tasks get progressively harder and players must complete each lesson to unlock the next.
Vince’s lessons generally take players between 30 and 60 minutes (or more), which means that players will have several hours of lessons at their disposal. Each lesson is broken down into stages with both instructions and helpful pointers. “Paintings” can also be saved as photos once finished, so players can share their accomplishments with others or add them to a personal portfolio.
Perhaps one of the best parts about this game is that the art tools are programmed to work like real ones would. For example, the paintbrush imitates the real-life running out of paint that users would normally experience. Players can also use a grid tool to help with spacing and location. All in all, the game is a great resource for kids, adults, doodlers and artists alike.