SLIDESHOW

14 games that feel like school

These games teach you stuff, some of it even kind of useful. At least, that’s what you should tell people.

bully
School's in session

Teacher says, "Every time a bell rings, you better get yourself to class or I'm marking you late."

It's time for school again—bad news for students, and great news for anyone who doesn't like kids hanging out on their lawn.

But who needs to go back to school when you have our PCWorld 2014 Gaming Course Catalog? Learn Astrophysics from Kerbal Space Program! Learn European History from Crusader Kings II! Learn...something... from Frog Fractions! If anyone asks, just say you're doing homework. 

kerbal space program
Physics 401: Kerbal Space Program

This is an advanced physics course, focused primarily on astrophysics and the mechanics of space flight. Major topics of study include escape velocity, what happens when you attach a dozen booster rockets in a spiral pattern around a fuselage, and whether you can hear a Kerbal scream when its poorly-built rocket explodes in the vacuum of space.

Prerequisite: VVVVVV

Sign up: Kerbal Space Program

surgeon simulator
Basic Medicine: Surgeon Simulator

Upon passing this course, students will be fully prepared to operate on any of a dozen different common human maladies with one hand tied behind their back. This is the finest medical course our institution has to offer. Note: Not for the squeamish.

Sign up: Surgeon Simulator

crusader kings ii
European History: Crusader Kings II

This course provides an overview of medieval dynastic policies in Europe, from the lowest duke to the highest king. We explore the core tenets of feudalism, expansion of ancient borders, after-effects from the fall of the Roman Empire, and what history would've looked like had the Count of Dublin married into the family of William of Normandy.

Recommended follow-up course: Europa Universalis IV

Sign up: Crusader Kings II

antichamber
Non-Euclidean Geometry: Antichamber

Students who sign up for this course may never be seen again, trapped inside an Escher-style prison that violates the laws of both time and space. Note: Due to the dangerous nature of this course, students need to sign a waiver prior to the first day of class.

Sign up: Antichamber

dayz
Anthropology 305: DayZ

This course is cross-taught with Film and TV 305: Zombies in the Modern Era. However, Anthropology 305 coursework focuses more on the nature of interpersonal conflict and simulated evil—like when a man says you have to either sing your national anthem or take a bullet to the head.

Recommended follow-up: Rust

Sign up: DayZ

frog fractions
Theoretical Math: Frog Fractions

This beginner's Mathematics course takes an interactive approach toward the ever-complicated concept of Fractions, distracting students from how much they hate math by including absolutely zero math in the game. It's a revolutionary new method to approach something your phone could do for you anyway.

Prerequisite: Healthy sense of humor.

Sign up: Frog Fractions

papers please
Civics: Papers, Please

Examines the various problems with widespread bureaucracy, including its dehumanizing effect on citizens. Students will explore various methods of breaking down these bureaucratic walls, dabble with the concepts of civil and uncivil disobedience, identify the relative importance of passports and other forms of identification, and learn about problems afflicting various world governments even in the modern day. Glory to Arstotzka!

Recommended follow-up: Democracy 3

Sign up: Papers, Please

spacechem
Chemistry 103: Spacechem

Develop an understanding of the basic principles of chemistry—the science that drives everything in life! Explore the nature of covalent bonds between atoms, as well as the core ideas behind responsible lab work. Students will need to use substantial amounts of logic to thrive in this class environment. Note: Substantial laboratory time is required to pass this course.

Sign up: Spacechem

rocksmith 2014
Guitar 101: Rocksmith 2014

This course, recently updated from the previous edition, offers a solid foundation in guitar fundamentals through both exercises and hands-on experience. You'll even learn how to play an Oasis song that isn't "Wonderwall."

Prerequisites: Own a guitar. Own that Rocksmith cord thing.

Sign up: Rocksmith 2014

scribblenauts unlimited
Creative Writing: Scribblenauts Unlimited

This course emphasizes the use of the written language in order to solve problems—the more ludicrous the solution, the better. A ravine could be crossed with a bridge, but the talented writer knows it could also be crossed with a gryphon, a hovercraft, a catapult, or even a fat Uncle Sam.

"Writers are the most useless people on earth." —Mark Twain

Sign up: Scribblenauts Unlimited

spec ops the line
U.S. Foreign Policy: Spec Ops: The Line

The United States has a large military presence worldwide. In this challenging course, students will explore the tale of three soldiers dropped into a conflict in Dubai—how they reacted under pressure, and how their core ideals were subsequently called into question.

Recommended pre-requisite: DEFCON

Sign up: Spec Ops: The Line

the walking dead
Ethics: The Walking Dead

This course delves into the concept of philosophical morality—whether there's such a thing as "objective" right and wrong, how our own backgrounds prejudice us toward certain patterns of behavior, and how to live with your decisions after the fact. Students will learn to express their internal worldviews and think critically about these issues.

Sign up: The Walking Dead

the stanley parable
Philosophy 102: The Stanley Parable

This beginner's philosophy course deals with the fundamentals of human behavior—namely, the nature of choice and free will. Does it exist? Do we have it? Or do we merely live for the amusement of some cruel and unfeeling narrator-in-the-sky? Note: This course never ends. Or, rather, the end is never the end.

Don't sign up: The Stanley Parable

dark souls ii
Organic Chemistry: Dark Souls II

Everybody fails this course. You'll fail this course, too. But maybe you'll pass the 10th or 20th time you take it.

Sign up: Dark Souls II