This looks like a fun learning experience; it's the kind of thing we can expect more of as cognitive science and computation begin to deliver rich, distributed learning experiences.
from the Zon website:
"Zon is an unique interactive massively multiplayer online role playing game for learning Mandarin Chinese.
"By interacting in the Zon environment you will be exposed to Chinese language and cultural knowledge in a new and exciting way. Everything that you do in the game is another chance to learn new words, phrases and cultural info about China. Never before has learning Chinese been more fun.
"The nice part about Zon is it is all browser based. No client applications are required, so you can log in and play from school, work or home. Zon is a persistant environment, so when you log off, the world still keeps going.
"As you progress through the game, your character graduates from the tourist class, to a resident of Zon and then finally a citizen, where you can own businesses and create new content for the world."
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