At last, it's the killer app that mobile games publishers have been waiting for. Nipan Maniar an academic and games expert at the University of Portsmouth has developed a mobile game deisgned to help international students understand life in Britain. Including such moments of cultural awakening as 'going to the pub' and 'watching people being affectionate to each other in public', the guide is intended for those who may have spent their formative years in more reserved cultures.

"I found some aspects of British culture very novel, and certainly things such as interacting socially with others, say, in a pub were very different to what I was used to in my own culture in India," said Nipan who himself arrived as a student from India five years ago.

"C-Shock could be used to guide students through events such as registration as well as help them with basic information like getting to a bank or ATM that's closest to them. You could incorporate a whole city guide into the game so, in effect, the new student has this interactive learning tool to quickly settle into a new city very quickly"

The mobile phone is the perfect delivery method for this sort of edutainment project - almost all international students will have one, while only a minority may be equipped with a DS or PSP. The game is set to be available from the university's website, although it's not clear how many handsets are supported.

Personally, I think there's massive potential in the concept of cultural gaming. At every stage in our lives we're forced to learn new social rules and regulations and it would be a lot easier if there were a mobile phone simulation available. For example, I still don't know what you're supposed to do when you invite someone round for dinner and they bring their own bottle of wine. Do you open that bottle or do you put it away and open one of your own? If there were a game that could steer me through that minefield I'd download it before you could say 'unforgiveable social faux-pas'.

via guardian