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A Serious Games Introduction Education Essay

Computer and video gaming are normally known comprehended as a kind of entertainment. However, surprisingly and quickly they have become recognized as providing a robust opportinity for learning "and being called Serious Games", both among educators and the game development community. A lot of research is being conducted to explore Serious Games possibilities. This newspaper investigates the idea of games as opportinity for learning/training "Serious Games", will look to the available meanings, investigate its relations with other terms and categories "Entertainment/ Learning /Gamification" show its applicability, limits and lastly we will suggest future studies to be conducted about any of it.


Today's "serious games" is a large and serious business; the serious game sector is expected to grow significantly in the medium term. In 7th of July 2010 - IDATE (market evaluation and consulting organization) released its "Serious Video games" market record where is believed that serious games this year 2010 generated 1. 5 billion EUR in income around the world, and this by 2015 sales will be almost seven times what they are this year 2010 - with the average annual progress rate of 47% between 2010 and 2015. [1]

A key question, when speaking about serious games, is exactly what the idea itself actually means. Even a brief study of the books soon reveals that there appears to be as many explanations available as there are celebrities involved, but most acknowledge a core and therefore serious game titles are (digital) game titles used for purposes other than mere entertainment.

Another question appealing concerns the claimed positive effects of such game titles, or of applications from related and sometimes overlapping areas Entertainment, Learning and Gamification. In addition to obvious advantages, like allowing learners to experience situations that are impossible in the real world for reasons of security, cost, time, etc. (Corti, 2006 [2]; Squire & Jenkins, 2003 [3]). However, it isn't the case that games are best for all learning effects (truck Eck, 2006 [4]). The purpose of this newspaper is to have a closer check out some aspects of these issues.

A lot of emphasis is putted into video games, gaming types, gaming benefits and drawbacks. There been many studies about it, as people looking to it as the new ground breaking way that could enhance our life.

We begins our research by determining Games in general to subset from it Serious game titles, then explore SG meanings, explore SG relation with Entertainment game titles, Learning and Gamification. After that we can look to SG capabilities, applicability, restrictions to finally suggest some potential research area.

An overview of Games:

This paper focuses on the domain name of serious games and since SG is a subset of game titles we will take first a glance at Game definition to summarize using their company a start point for our research.

"A game is a system where players engage in an abstract problem, defined by rules, interactivity, and opinions, that results in a quantifiable end result often eliciting an emotional response. " By Koster is his seminal work "A Theory of Fun" [5]

According to Caillois play and games fall on a continuum between what he terms ludus, rule destined video games and paidia, anarchic learning, therefore we need first to differentiate between game and play. Whereas the term "play" is employed for game titles as well as for toys, there is a difference. Pursuing Caillois' principle in his book "Man, Play and Games (2001)"[6] we can light on the difference, Caillois explains paidia and ludus as two poles of play activities. Where paidia (learning) details free-form, expressive, improvisational manners and meanings, ludus (game playing), on the other side, characterizes rule-based playing with determined goals.

In subject of serious video games we are discussing "ludus" with a context of having a purpose behind playing the overall game. So we can identify play as it is less the opposite of seriousness than the essential ground of nature as nature, a kind of restraint and freedom at one and once. (Gadamer, 1986) [7]

The Idea of Serious Game titles:

The term "serious game" is not new; the first time term was introduced by Clark Abt who reviewed the word in his "Serious Game titles" book in 1970. [8]

Serious games usually make reference to video games used for training, advertising, simulation, or education that can run on personal computers or gaming consoles. However searching the web, a variety of definitions can be found, such as:

"Video games that do not have entertainment, entertainment, or fun as their major purpose" (Michael & Chen, 2006, p. 21) [9]

"The usage of video game and simulation approaches and/or technologies for mainly non entertainment purposes" by (PIXELearning. com, 2006) [10]

Game-based learning/serious games "is all about leveraging the power of video games to captivate and engage end-users for a particular purpose, such as to develop new knowledge and skills". Relating to Corti (2006, p. 1) [2]

"Serious game is a mental competition, played with some type of computer in accordance with specific guidelines, that uses entertainment to further government or commercial training, education, health, general population policy, and proper communication targets. " by Zyda's (2005, p. 26) [11]

When evaluating serious games with just computer games, Zyda argues that serious games have more than just story, art work, and software. It's the addition of pedagogy (activities that educate or instruct, in so doing imparting knowledge or skill) that makes game titles serious. However, he also stresses that pedagogy must be subordinate to story and that the entertainment part comes first. [11]

Some consider fun the best factor in video games and education and, matching to Prensky (2001) [12], games should be fun first and then should encourage learning. Likewise, Michael and Chen (2006) [9] argue, with regard to serious games, that the main point is to get players to learn something, and, if possible, have fun doing it.

"Fun", however, is neither the only real form of entertainment, nor the only way to engage players in a casino game. Besides fun, there are several elements that contribute to players' engagement. Matching to Corti (2006) [2], the motivational virtues of video games are what initially draw in training and development professionals to carefully turn to game-based approaches, but there exists far more to game based learning/serious games than using fun as a means to activate learners.

Related Concepts to serious Game titles:

There are related and sometimes overlapping domains to Serious Game titles (Entertainment, Learning and Gamification) which we need to separate their relativity to Serious Games.

Serious Gaming vs. Entertainment Video gaming:

An satisfactory question to ask is how serious video games differ from entertainment games. The below stand compare Serious Games and Entertainment Game titles from Michael and Chen (2006) [9] view details where they discuss it from a design and development perspective following four conditions to compare "Task/Experience, Emphasis, Simulations and Communication"

Serious games

Entertainment games

Task vs. rich


Problem handling in focus

Rich experience preferred


Important elements of


To have fun


Assumptions necessary

for workable simulations

Simplified simulation



Should mirror natural

(i. e. , non-perfect)


Communication is often


The differences between entertainment games and serious game titles -Table 1

For serious video games it is more important for the players that the model or simulation can be used to solve a challenge, than providing "rich activities" of the kind searched for by hardcore gamers. Further, for serious games it is essential that the main components of learning are in focus and that the assumptions necessary for making a simulation workable are appropriate, which if not; the simulation will instruct the wrong sorts of skills. Entertainment games, on the other side, allow players to concentrate on the fun parts and also to use lots of techniques for simplifying the simulation operations. In serious games, Michael and Chen (2006) [9] argue, it may be important to rethink the utilization of such simplifying techniques. For example, serious video games should answer more to the mindful decisions made by players than to chance, and therefore randomness may be incorrect. Another example is communication, which often is ideal (i. e. , without delays and misunderstandings, etc. ) in entertainment video games, whereas some serious training applications should somewhat mirror that communication hardly perfect.

As with simulations and serious game titles, the variation between entertainment games and serious game titles is not so clear either. It is evident that it is the purpose of the first to amuse, and of the last mentioned to educate/train/inform the gamer. Yet, in some situations entertainment game titles are used for serious purposes as well. In addition to that serious game designers, studies argue that fun can be a crucial aspect to motivate a player to continue participating in a serious game.

SG and Learning:

The recognition and adoption of game titles as learning systems has helped educators in utilizing games as a way for providing serious learning opportunities for players.

With games understood as learning technologies, the question occurs concerning what's different about the learning when games in comparison to that typically within institutions.

One of the greater obvious distinctions resides with the control afforded to the learner as player, where the point out of control is normally afforded to players in games and professors in schools. Games, therefore, present a "learner-centered" approach to learning, whereas traditional education reveals a "teacher-centered" way.

The other different is that in games it is up to players to create for themselves, their own knowledge, whereas in the latter, it is up to teachers to transfer knowledge to the learner. So the two processes of coaching and learning can be argued as quite different. Learning can be recognized as a process whereby learners active build knowledge through experience and connection, whereas teaching traditionally is an activity by which educators disperse knowledge to learners through transmission

The design of serious game titles "games with a give attention to education" should be about creating meaningful experiences and activities for players, rather than means for 'transmitting' knowledge from the overall game to the player

Serious Game titles and Gamification:

Serious game titles and gamification are both trying to solve a challenge, motivate people, and promote learning using game-based thinking and techniques.

Serious games tend to take the methodology of utilizing a game in just a well-defined game space, while gamification tends to take the utilization of a casino game outside of a defined space and apply the concept to stuff like walking up steps "piano stairs".

So we can say that serious video games are manufactured by using game-based technicians, school of thought, and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems. Quite simply, they are created through the gamification of traditional learning content. [8, 11, 13]

Serious Games Traits:

Now after defining serious game and discuss it, in relation to other related theory, we have to highlight a few of the common game attributes that must be taken in thought when developing it. They are some suggested features by Anne Derryberry [14]:

Back-story and story line: Every game has a story after which it is based, and a tale line that it follows, even if inferred. The storyline series is not the game play itself, but instead the rationale for the game play.

Game technicians: These handle all the specific functions within a game, including specific things like how the game's physical world behaves; in-game weather; and the activities a character can take when given a order.

Rules: The corollary to game technicians are the rules of the game, the constraints in action that exist on every player's actions and abilities

Immersive graphical environment: This is actually the sensory representation of the experience layer of the overall game, including 2D/3D graphics, sound, and computer animation. This environment can be static (it resets at the end of every player time) or continual (it continues to evolve even though a player isn't logged in).

Interactivity: This focuses on the impact a player's actions have on the globe and includes issues of persistence and player interaction

Challenge/competition: This is in the centre of any game. Your competition might be against the overall game, against one's do it yourself, or against other players.

Risks and repercussions: These must be present at every challenge, however they can be found in the safe game environment where in fact the consequences of your action or decision do not impact real life.

Serious Games Advantages:

The notion of using game titles for work and in place of work generates a lot of thrills and charm to both company and employees. This thrills is a result of the advantages game titles. A few of this beneficial are the following [15]:

Engagement: Games are compelling and maybe addictive and the proposal it produces is hard to match with other training methods.

Games feel "safe": Video games provide a safe location to practice, where learners know they will not be penalized for their mistakes. Doing offers can be considered a safe place to try different strategies, to experiment, and to make mistakes and to fail.

Reduce Cost and Complexness of training: The expense of producing game is usually lower than cost of other styles of training.

Get direct opinions: It is possible for the educator to view or replay intricate learner actions during the game, something that would be difficult to accomplish in a real-life demo.

Situated cognition": "Game titles are effective partly because the learning takes place in a meaningful (to the overall game) context. Everything you must learn is directly related to the surroundings in which you learn and show it; thus, the learning isn't only relevant but applied and utilized within that context" By researcher Van Eck,

The most frequent application areas for Serious Video games are:

Health Health care: Applications range between patient treatment to health education for doctors. As an example of SG in medical personnel training, haptic technology provides people a sense of touch in computer-generated environments [16].

Military/ Government: Using game-based simulations, the military services saves significant amounts of money, cutting expenditures in gas, ammunition, maintenance, etc. In addition, games are generally requests of magnitude safer than live training while still offering significantly natural and useful training encounters. For instance, America's Military [AME 05] [17]

Corporate: The use of games in the corporate environment presents one of the most effective growing sectors of the serious games industry. Companies like IBM, CISCO and other technically savvy companies already use simulations and video games to motivate personnel to learn specific job-related skills [18]

Games for Good: Games for Good leverages game mechanics for social advantage. Games created for this section of the industry desire to teach, train or simply generate knowing of a topic, an issue or a societal problem, therefore creating change - in thinking, activities or attitudes. "Ex: Game titles that teach teenagers to become internationally conscious citizens, contributing their own answers to communal issues" [18]

Education: Game titles are changing just how children learn, aiding them think differently and rousing new ways folks of all ages can use their brains.

Limitations of Serious Game titles:

"Although game titles can succeed learning environments, not all games work, nor are all games educational. Likewise, not all video games are best for all learners or for those learning benefits. " By- Diana Oblinger, 2006

Some of the possible issues that may limit Serious Games benefits and that need to be looked at are as follows:

Playing the overall game becomes more important than the learning

Cost of creating a game surpasses learning come back on investment

Game requires a long time to produce and is ineffective at training

Game too easy or too hard

Learning curve to get started on participating in game is too much for the prospective audience

Learner remembers game but not content

Other learning tools may become more effective

Information imperfect or inaccurate in the game

The game is too difficult to keep up or continue to date

Keys to Success in Serious Games

How to make it work? How to ensure the goal of the serious game is achieved? Recommending here some tips to make serious games achieve its purpose and get the best desired final result. [19, 20, 21]

Know your market: Folks are different therefore can be learners who will like different kinds of games, so it's recommended to provide several game, geared to different audiences as to cover the different needs of people.

Focus in on specific goals and effects: Select a game that supports the learning aims and content, but balance this with certain requirements of action.

Don't make the game too easy: Easy learning game titles do not produce good learning results. Learners are more likely to keep in mind when things go wrong

Use competition and/or cooperation: As competition motivates learners and collaboration allows cultural learning that works well in motivating behavioral change.

Test: Even the simplest game titles can have unforeseen faults.

Consider having learners create their own games: This is useful exercises since it requires the student to believe through the subject extensively and think of troubles they may like to have.

Future Research:

How to confirm that Serious Game titles business is absolutely worth it and the way to assess the ROI? I really believe this is one of the hardest question facing serious game titles, so a 1:1 romance between a casino game and a desired result is often hard to tease out in something as nebulous as diversity training.

Another interesting search area will be a "Customized Serious Games design" represents a new, complex portion of design for the game world. Where designers have unique opportunities to make a significant contribution to game design, by managing game play to focus on changing, in a predefined way, the values, skills, and/or behaviors of these who play the game, while preserving the entertainment aspects of the game experience all based on different users needs.


The proven fact that video games are part of our daily life in one way or another can't be ignored; and instances may differ from our direct gaming "plays a game on your smartphone or online making use of your social network profile with your direct intention to play" to indirect video games "collecting things via grocery shop cards without your intention to play".

Games main goal is entertainment, nevertheless they have more universal applicability that gave extra functions in various aspects of everyday activities. Which produce Serious Games, the games that are designed to not only captivate users, but have additional purposes such as education and training. They could be very much like educational video games, but are primarily centered on an audience beyond primary or secondary education. Serious Video games can be of any genre and most of them can be considered some sort of edutainment, but the key goal of a serious game is never to entertain, though the potential of games to engage is often an essential requirement of the decision to use games as a coaching tool.

When deciding to use a game for training, it is important to clearly state your learning aims and also to determine exactly what advantages the game will provide to the participant. If the overall game is too easy or too much, or will not concentrate on the objectives, it could simply spend the learners' time. Based on the kind of game you would like to use, you may need to go through a substantial testing phase to ensure success.

A serious game is usually a simulation which includes the look and feel of a game, but is actually a simulation of real-world occasions or processes. The primary goal of a serious game will be to train or inform users. Furthermore, to be able to stimulate the learning aftereffect of the players/trainees experiments, direct responses from the game on the activities of the players is essential. Designing effective, participating serious games requires theoretical knowledge of learning, cognition, feeling, and play.

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