Hext is a fast-paced word puzzle game that promotes a creative, relaxed, social setting in which adult English-language learners are encouraged to practice the language with dramatically reduced limitations. The gameplay revolves around players competing for the highest number of points by collecting letter tiles and forming words with their collection. Hext provides an inclusive environment, allowing every player a chance to contribute by drawing from their own unique set of experiences. Although players may initially discover Hext in a more formal setting, such as a classroom or company event, they will be able to purchase a copy and play amongst friends and family. Hext will increase players’ confidence in speaking English out loud and using the language in relevant social and utilitarian settings. Hext has simple rules that anybody can pick up and play within minutes. The game is best played in group settings with people of different background for the ultimate variability in gameplay.
I grew up in a suburban city just outside Toronto. While going to school in Canada, it was mandatory to learn French starting from elementary school. My parents, who are trilingual, understood the importance of knowing other languages and enrolled me in a French Immersion program through elementary and middle school. However, I had such a poor experience learning the language because my teachers would consistently humiliate and shame me for my poor pronunciation. This demotivated me from continuing to learn French, so I quit the French Immersion program when I had the opportunity to enroll in an English Arts high school. After graduating high school and entering college, I began to discover myself further and finding what skills were needed for me to pursue my dream career at the time; having experience/fluency with French was a desired skill. Although I was afraid to go back to learning French, I understood at that time that it would help me. For the sake of my career, I decided to take French courses and ended up with a Certificate in French upon graduating from undergrad.
While attending college, I noticed that there were a lot of international students who had poor English. It was difficult for them to make friends outside their comfort zone and for them to even start a conversation in English. In one instance, I approached some international students who started learning English at a young age but found out they never focused much on speaking. A lot of students didn’t like studying English very much as teachers would shame them for not being able to pronounce words properly. This made students feel very self-conscious about themselves and try to speak as little English as possible. Teachers also mainly focused on reading/writing. As a result, students were encouraged to constantly memorize vocabulary and grammar rules but never applied them consistently in their daily routines. Thus, they realized the struggles in communicating in English in University. After hearing these stories, I felt like I could relate to these students because it was rare to see them speak English and they had similar experiences learning English as I did with French. This got me curious about how people teach and learn languages.