Delicious Serious Games

Each recipe has its own ingredients and this week we want to cook with you the perfect, tastiest and most complete Serious Game. Would you like to help us to put everything in the pot?

Commonly defined as games with a primary purpose beyond just providing entertainment, serious games arouse interest and fascination more than ever. According to Malone and Lepper (1987)1, the recipe of a serious game should have these essential ingredients2:

And all this garnished with proportion quantities of Content, Design and Theory. But if there is something that characterizes Serious Games is their ability to provide knowledge that is useful in real life. Michael W. Martin and Yuzhong Shen, from the Department of Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Engineering of Old Dominion University, explain this as follows:

Most of the time, what the players learn is useless in the real world. Players of Nintendo?s famous game “Super Mario Bros.” learn that touching a mushroom will kill you, but that you can jump on top of one to safely squish it. Learning these aspects of the game helps the players perform better, but this knowledge usually transfers very poorly to the real world.

In a serious game, the knowledge that the user learns within the game transfers very  well to the real world. The game mechanics or content, in some way, possess a sufficient degree of fidelity with real life mechanics or subjects. When the player learns something in the game, that knowledge is useful in real life outside the game3.

With regard to all these considerations, researches have drawn up some categories of serious games that include game-based-learning, simulators, games with a purpose, newsgames, exergames, etc. In Gamelearn, for instance, we made our own variation of this recipe mixing simulator + video game + elearning to create “g-learning”.

And what do you think? Are you missing any ingredient? What are the essential requirements for a complete serious game, in your opinion?

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