The 'Mentally Stimulating Diversions' of Sporcle.com
The Internet has become everyone's favorite time-waster. But websites like Sporcle.com allow you to have fun online while still using your brain. Test your knowledge of a variety of subjects, including world history, religion and geography. Wasting time has never been good for you!
What Is It?
We hope you have some time to spare. Sporcle is one of the most fun sites we've come across in a while. If you're looking for a place to challenge your brain in subjects like history and geography, your wishes have been granted. Sporcle hosts a wide variety of games and quizzes that test your knowledge in areas like U.S. history, world history, contemporary geography, literature, religion, language, science and entertainment.
Some of the games, particularly those about entertainment, film and television, test trivial knowledge, but there are plenty of quizzes that will force you to remember basic history and geography. One of our favorite games is the test of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. as determined by the 2010 Census. The game works by presenting you with 50 blank fields that you must correctly fill out within the 15-minute time limit. A wrong answer will reset the test and make you start from scratch. This game really forces you to think about where the population density is in the U.S.
Most of the games and quizzes on Sporcle play out like this. They're about a central topic that requires you to dig deep into your knowledge banks to either reason or recall what the correct answers are. Most tests are timed, and some, but not all, have a feature that resets the quiz if you guess wrong even once. This feature will probably be frustrating and annoying to some, but it's not a hallmark of all Sporcle games.
Who Will Get the Most Use Out of It?
There's something for everyone on Sporcle - unless, of course, you don't like to or don't have time to play games on the Internet. It's definitely a diversion, 'mentally stimulating' though it is. But whether you're a history buff, a sports fan or just plain interested in brushing up on basic knowledge like U.S. state capitals, you'll find something entertaining and enjoyable. If you really like challenging yourself, you might just fall into a productivity black hole for a little while, so you may want to be careful.
One of the best things about Sporcle is that it's safe for use in the classroom. Teachers might want to give students a pre-approved list of quizzes just to ensure kids aren't testing their knowledge of the 50 most mentioned Harry Potter characters when they're supposed to be naming all 44 U.S. presidents in ten minutes. There are some quizzes on the site that aren't as educationally relevant as others. But on the plus side, students may have so much fun playing these games in class that they decide to visit Sporcle on their own time at home.
Summary: Pros and Cons
- Many games that test useful knowledge
- Safe for use in school
- Can be used as a study aid at home
- Not all games are educationally relevant
- You might waste too much time with some of the games - they can be addictive!
There are other fun and educationally relevant online games if Sporcle doesn't have exactly what you want.