Week 2 Blog
After doing a lot of reading, research, and collaboration this week, I have determined that the following are components that need to be included in a serious game:
- A character or identity that can be used in the game. This character allows the player to interact with the environment. Often times you are able to build an avatar or character that represents yourself in some way. “These characters stage happenings in virtual space” (Pedagogy Elements, Components, and Structures for Serious Games Authoring Environments). Players are allowed to experience the game through a character that they can identify with. “Good video games capture players through identity” (Good Video Games and Good Learning). The players are drawn into the games with a character that they choose. Having a character or identity in a game is an essential component to getting players engaged in that game.
- Game should be challenging enough to keep interest and engagement but not too challenging to frustrate players. According to an interview with Curtis Murphy, a game should balance difficulty and skill where they have specific tasks (How to Build an Award Winning Serious Game). Games should be built to keep that balance. “The designer has to understand every kind of player playing the game and make sure that the game is enjoyable for all sorts of players”(Adaptive Game Mechanics For Learning Purposes). Games should not just target an expert or a beginner. The games should be able to adapt to everyone’s skill level.
- Games should have rewards built in and promote risk taking. Whether you are rewarded or penalized in a game, you should have immediate feedback (How to Build an Award Winning Serious Game). Immediate feedback especially on errors allows for learner reflection. Errors in games are seen as positive learning experiences. (Serious Games in Defense Education). The errors allow for learning and rewards give reinforcement and encouragement in serious games. If you don’t have some type of reward, the game is almost pointless for players. Rewards can be simple but everyone loves to get some type of reward or reinforcement.
- Build systematic thinking. Games should encourage students to think about the bigger picture, not just isolated facts and events (Good Video Games and Good Learning). This skill is a really important life skill that a serious game can teach you. What is going to happen if I do this? It directly translates over to many life events. I believe that serious games should be grounded in reality and teach these types of lessons.
There are many other components in serious games but these are the ones that I have researched and found to be important.
Adaptive Game Mechanics For Learning Purposes: making serious games playable and fun, (2003), http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~jtremb59/Papers/Adaptive Game Mechanics for Learning Purposes – J Tremblay.pdf
Good Video Games and Good Learning, http://www.academiccolab.org/resources/documents/Good_Learning.pdf
How to Build an Award Winning Serious Game (video), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM-Z20MTkcY
Pedagogy Elements, Components, and Structures for Serious Games Authoring Environments (2007), http://www.cms.livjm.ac.uk/library/AAA-GAMES-Conferences/GDTW/2007/Papers/A4/LP4.pdf
Serious Games in Defense Education. (2008). http://www.caspianlearning.co.uk/MoD_Defence_Academy_Serious_games_Report_04.11.08.pdf