Research conclusion: Serious Games

If you’re interested in some research about ‘serious games’ I’ve posted it in my online work book which includes a project brief, some game analysis, research (academic – sort of) and steps on how I programmed my prototype.  Link to workbook


I regret these colours, so, so much.


The Definition of Terms

This week I researched different commonly used terms used in the study of game design and game development. The task was to find two different meanings to commonly used terms that are often differently viewed between different people, and then define them myself. I found Chris Crawford’s writing ‘The Art of Computer Game Design’ the most relatable of all the sources I looked at. He himself understands that in order to understand games and game design, you must determine what the word ‘game’ means (Crawford, 1982). From his writing and others (which I will mention shortly) I was able to recognise my own interpretation of these terms.

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Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling

Artists and engineers as cats and dogs: implications for interactive storytelling.

I choose to look into this chapter as collaborating with other artists and developers is something I’m coming across more and more as the years go on.

Crawford states clearly the divide between programmers and artists and how it needs to be resolved in order to achieve a good story. In order to do this he says that programmers or engineers must make a solid effort to create tool for the artists that meets their needs. It also helps to learn some of the artists terminology. Artists must learn the basics of algebra, and must coherently express their needs to the engineers. Most importantly the artists and engineers must have mutual respect for each other.

Bjorn Hurri

“I love to create worlds, regardless of what that world is.”

Bjorn Hurri is a well respected lead concept artist working on games such as Bioshock Infinite, Dead Space 2, Army of Two:Devils Cartel and Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 plus many more. His works are inspiriting. Watching a lecture online about him I really thought that documenting the key advice he gives would be well worth it:

“You need Imagination and Really interesting ideas to pursue. Make sure the game is very interesting to experience. Learn traditional aspects of drawing art, Creating models drawing with pencils or painting is the foundation that’s extremely important because when you do understand that foundation you can apply that to anything regardless of tools.”

Why Games and Learning?

Over the course of this assignment I did the most research I possibly could in the time given – and I enjoyed it. Doris C. Rusch in my opinion is right when she says that games need deeper meanings. We’re past the point where games can just be used for entertainment, games are used every day on trains, walking down the street, at home, even sometimes at work, and they hold so must potential to be more than they are and make a positive difference. I’m not talking about advertisements, or in-your-face learning, but intelligently and creatively inter-grading a deeper purpose in games for the good of many. This is a link to all my research so far on ‘serious games’ and game based learning. I’d advise you to have a look if you’re interested.

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Formal Abstract Design Tools by Doug Church

Reading the article from my understanding Formal Abstract Design Tools (FADT) is an idea of creating a tool/language used by game players, designers and developers to understand the fundamental aspects of the game more formally. It’l help designers identify what the game is about, what goals/vision you have for the game and what is fun about it instantly, and in a way that is better understood by other people.

I like this idea because It helps designers pick apart their ideas, innovations and mistakes and put them into a form that is easier to understand so that the designer can learn and benefit from them. The article suggests that a ‘precise vocabulary’ can improve the understanding of game creation. Using these tools can help designers shape your game.

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The Origins Of Serious Games Reading

This article covers where the term ‘serious games’ comes from in a very detailed and well researched way. It explains that the term was created as a way to label these types of games so they can sell, and be defined by what they are – which is meant for a purpose other than entertainment. In saying that it also points out that serious games, although it wasn’t a classified type of game yet, it had still been around since the beginning of game and play. Which I agree completely, in a sense many people see serious games at educational or games that are meant for more entertainment – in which almost all games have that to an extent. There are real world skills that we learn from almost all games – to experiment, explore, discover, problem solve and be creative. The term ‘serious games’ doesn’t only mean that only those games can teach you something or bring you more than education. It’s more a category of games that specifically is designed for another purpose other than entertainment – that its main goal is something else. Some of those focuses have been recorded in this article as education, healthcare, defence, art & culture, religion, corporate training, advertising. A question that brought up the need for the term ‘serious games’ “To illustrate a scientific research studyto train professionals and to broadcast a message: Were video games solely meant for entertainment?”