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Words: Catherine Lewis
Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption 2 has never been short on praise, but this new acclaim from a biology teacher in Cornwall might just take things to the next level. Yes, you heard that right. A biology teacher, in Cornwall. (For our overseas readers, that's a county in the southwest of the UK.)
The teacher, who goes by SaiRookwood on Reddit, posted the results of a recent study using Rockstar's western-themed game in the truegaming subreddit, and the results are pretty interesting.
Why not also take a second to watch our latest Red Dead Redemption Wins & Fails video...
"We wondered whether the immersion afforded by RDR2's detailed environment led to gamers inadvertently learning to identify some of the species portrayed in the game's simulated ecosystems." wrote the teacher.
The study tasked gamers with identifying 15 animals from real-world photos, all of which were featured in the 2018 action-adventure game. And it was a great success; the results showed that those who had played the game could, on average, identify 10 of the 15 animals correctly, which was three more than those who hadn't played it. Yeah, science!
Gamers who had played the game more recently or for longer also generally scored higher in the study, so there's your excuse for the next time you want to replay it.
"Obviously we aren't recommending that under-18 year olds play RDR2, but there is something to learn here for educators and conservationists who want to enhance the world's natural history education," SaiRookwood added. "'Gamification' and immersion in a learning experience, by making people's actions have meaning, can be more effective than simply getting people to learn a list of animals by rote."
This isn't the first time that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been praised for its depictions of wildlife. In 2019, an American bird conservation society, Audubon, commended the game for its variety and accuracy of different bird species.
So, if you were wanting to brush up on your biology, now seems like a perfect time to pick up the game, as it's currently available on PlayStation Now. For research purposes, of course.
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