Written by Jack Sharp
Photos and illustrations by Preloaded, Luke Pearson
28 Monday 28th November 2011

Preloaded’s games are not only entertaining and ridiculously addictive, but often highly educational. They recently teamed up with illustrator Luke Pearson to create The End, an expansive, beautifully illustrated platformer that encourages young people to discuss death, philosophy and science; their latest game, Wondermind, helps engage young kids with principles of neuroscience.

In their words: “We make fun games, with a purpose. They are often a direct response to a brief or commissioning opportunity, linked to learning or communication objectives and targeted to specific audiences. If you think that sounds boring, you are wrong! It’s awesome.”

Wondermind | Channel 4

Click Here to play.

Wondermind is Preloaded’s latest offering. Beautifully designed and with lovely music and sounds, the game was funded by the Wellcome Trust for Tate Liverpool's Alice in Wonderland exhibition. Although aimed at 8-12 year-olds, the game is difficult enough to keep much older players entertained (or me, at least).

Wondermind is divided into four Alice in Wonderland-inspired mini games: there’s The Hedge Maze in which you place mirrors around a maze and use reflective light to find the Cheshire cat; The Tea Party in which you’re required to rotate and join up pipes to pour the correct cup of tea (with more than a little nod to Pipe Dream); The Forest, where you have to catch the white rabbit; and The Garden, where you have to match pairs of cards within the time limit.

The game’s overall aim to is to encourage an understanding of the fundamentals of memory, language and spatial cognition. The Tea Party in particular is a great little game that’ll have you entertained indefinitely.

The End | Channel 4

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The End is a gorgeously illustrated, fun platformer that explores death, philosophy and science. As well as being compelling and hugely addictive, the game encourages young people to think about mortality, posing questions and fuelling discussion. The players’ answers and interactions are then compared to various famous figures, amongst them Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart.

In a nutshell: The End is one of the most complex and well-presented flash games on the net. There’s an enormous amount to do; it’s like one of your favourite old school platform gamers, but with a really interesting take on the topic of mortality.

After you’re done playing, you can save your data and statistics for when you return in the future. You can even connect with Facebook friends to see what famous figure they’re most like.

Boccia | Channel 4

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The average session time for players playing Boccia is reportedly 17 minutes (an internet lifetime), and it’s easy to see why. Made for the Paralympic Games, Boccia has perhaps the greatest replay value of all the Preloaded games and also happens to be the least complicated.

The sport of boccia is similar to boules in many ways, but is made for athletes who require a wheelchair because of a physical disability. The aim of the game is to throw a coloured ball (red or blue) as close as you can to a white ball, or jack.

Preloaded have recreated the game with really smooth, responsive controls that make the game hugely engaging and a lot of fun.

zOMT | Adult Swim

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Created for Adult Swim, zOMT is a strategy game in a similar vein to games like Baldies, Tower Defence and Plants vs Zombies. As God, you’re required to protect a tribe of devout followers from approaching enemies. You can do this by producing new followers and generating Mana and footsoldiers to fight for you. You can also change the weather, creating clouds to protect the tribe and administering your wrath by firing bolts of lightening at anybody who refuses to acknowledge your greatness.

Granted, I’m a weak, unworthy deity and it took a couple of tries before my hapless followers stopped being brutally massacred in front of me, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with zOMT. The graphics are really cool, especially the beautifully painted, textured backgrounds, and the gameplay is ridiculously addictive.

1066 | Channel 4

Click Here to play.

Created for Channel 4, 1066 is a historically accurate interactive game based on 1066 and the battle for Middle-Earth. The game is surprisingly graphic in content, with splashes of blood and horrific screams of pain. Even so, the game is very humorous and, as is the case with much of Preloaded’s work, the graphics look great.

1066 is one of Preloaded’s biggest success stories and has won countless awards for its compelling, gory gameplay.

To play more Preloaded games and find out more about what they do, check out their website. Next on the cards for Preloaded is another commission for Channel 4: Footfall, the socially-minded Facebook game that's all about running an eco and ethics-conscious shoe shop.

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