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Costello (online game)

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Title: Costello (online game)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Chronology of MUDs, English as a second or foreign language, Distance education, MUDs, Zone (video games)
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Costello (online game)


Developer(s) Adrian Cohen, James Hobbs, Jason Hitt, Christopher Sprague, Ford Nickel
Engine MudOS
Platform(s) Platform independent
Release date(s) 1995
Genre(s) Educational MUD
Mode(s) Multiplayer, Single-player (CD version)
Distribution Online, CD-ROM

Costello is an educational MUD — a text-based online role-playing game — designed for teaching English as a foreign or second language.[1] It is offered online as a free service.[2] Created in 1995,[3] it was innovative in its use of the MUD medium for EFL/ESL instruction,[4]and has received positive critical response.[1]


A screenshot of Costello '​s login screen as seen in the Java applet client

Costello is intended to function both as an engaging game and a teaching environment,[2] following the reasoning that players will be more motivated to learn if their skill acquisition aids them in their game-play. To avoid degrading the value of language skills acquired, the game's command parser avoids support for ungrammatical shorthand forms; where a typical MUD might allow a player to examine a hat with the syntax l hat, Costello requires look at the hat. An integrated dictionary provides explication of unfamiliar terms.[1]

The game may be played through a Web browser using a Java applet[2] or using a Java client distributed on a CD-ROM with the course textbook.[5] A non-networked standalone application version of Costello is also included on the CD-ROM.

Costello's tagline is "Quest-Based Learning", reflecting its structuring of learning experiences through quests.[6] An earlier tagline was "English Through Imagination".[1]

Technical infrastructure

Costello runs on the MudOS game driver and a version of the Ain Soph Mudlib from Lost Souls, with customizations engineered by former Lost Souls developer Jason "Rand" Hitt and others.


  1. ^ a b c d Gromik, Nicolas (March 2005). "Costello—English Through Imagination". TESL-EJ 8 (4). Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  2. ^ a b c "Costello Online". Costello Publications. 2005-10-12. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  3. ^ "About the Authors". Costello Publications. 2005-07-29. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  4. ^ Ono, Michiko. "Translations of Seven Poems by Kenji Miyazawa". Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator. National Institute of Informatics. Retrieved 2010-04-27. This paper discusses how the underlying conflict between textbooks and computer-based packages served as the driving force behind the creation of Costello: Quest-based Learning (Cohen & Hobbs, 2005), a package that combines a paper textbook with a virtual reality computer game for language learners. [...] Arguably, this represents a radical and innovative approach, in which the computer adds an extra dimension to the learning experience, but does not stifle the human interaction that many regard as a vital ingredient in the language classroom. 
  5. ^ Cohen, Adrian (2005). Costello: Quest-based Learning. Costello Publications.  
  6. ^ "Costello—Quest-Based Learning". Costello Publications. 2005-11-10. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 

External links

  • Official website
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