Tantalized by typography? Gaga for good design? Head over heels for history? Gung-ho for a bit of gamification in your free time? Then you must try Type:Rider, available for iOS and Android. Right off the bat I'll tell you it isn't a free app, but the educational value as well as the simple and visually stunning design will make it worth the $3 (or $3.64 for Android--sorry folks!).
The game starts with a six-step tutorial level where you travel through a world of cave paintings (aka the origin of typography) as the gallant [horizontal] colon; rolling, jumping, dodging, and moving objects in your pursuit of collecting typographic symbols and unlocking content for further reading.
In this first tutorial level, the content is cave painting, cuneiform writing, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese characters, the Greek alphabet, and the Latin alphabet.
To advance to the next level, you must find a third "dot" and move it along with your colon character into three designated slots, forming an ellipsis.
The "Origins" tutorial moves on to the Gothic era, where game play takes place in a land of cathedral ruins consisting of books, ink bottles, and misplaced type.
The content you're working to unlock is visually appealing, relevant, and interesting. But if you find yourself caught up in game play, you can always skip the reading and circle back to it after you've finished the level.
To date, I have only gotten as far as the Gothic level. Eight additional levels adorned with mysterious question marks still await me (each decorated in the style of the times so I could probably guess what each has in store).
Aside from the obvious fun and visual interest I've found in this game (that I think fellow designers will find as well), I've also found inspiration for future eLearning courses. Thoughts of creating a game-based course for the medical field with a scalpel as the main character, cutting through to each new level, dance in my head. Or maybe a hard hat in the construction industry-protecting the head of a new character for each level. Have I gotten your creative juices flowing too? Don't be shy (or greedy)--share those ideas with your ol' pal AJ by posting comments below!
And if you've gotten past the Gothic level in Type:Rider, don't give me any spoilers. ;)