What are the common components of serious games? Justify your answer.
Serious games are games that have a serious purpose other than an entertainment value. According to the article Balancing Three Different Foci in the Design of Serious Games by Anders Frank (2007) , “Serious Games can be defined as the use of games and game technology for other purposes than just entertainment (p.1).” In other words, serious games are games that also aim to teach a serious lesson of some sort.
These games are hard, long, and complex (Gee, 2005). Furthermore according to James Paul Gee (2005) in his article Good Video Games and Good Learning when gaming, “ we should feel ourselves using learning muscles we don’t always use.”
Wow! If games allow us to use muscles we don’t always use it seems like they have great educational value. Gee (2005) suggests that games allows for learning that is long, hard, and complex yet still enjoyable. I really believe games have an intriguing value in education due to the enjoyment factor. Gee (2005) further states, “human actual enjoy learning, though sometimes in school you wouldn’t know it (p.3).” I agree because sometimes for many students school just does not motivate children. I have encountered plenty of times when children just refuse to work because it just is not motivating. I love the idea of incorporating games in to the education system to help motivate students to learn. I believe that this is a difficult task but with the advances in technology to some degree games can be included in the classroom.
Serious games have developed as a result of others wanting to use games for other purposes other than motivational (Frank, 2007). As a teacher, I can see how they have developed, especially after at one point in time working with a child who was engrossed in games. I always felt like using the games as a motivational tool to get work done failed because the child was always so side tracked by the game he/she couldn’t get his/her work done so in turn he/she became frustrated because this child would never see the reward. I always thought it would be interesting to or rewarding to somehow alter the games so they could be part of his education. At the time, I did not know about serious games. I think this child along with others could have learned from social/emotional serious games. It is my understanding that there are some out there and although I am no longer working with these kids I would like to look up such serious games to share with others my findings. I really believe games can help our students who just do not have the connection with school to want to do well.
It is my opinion, that games should and do have a place in our school systems. And is further supported by an educated gaming guru James Paul Gee of Arizona State University who has written numerous books all in which support using games in education (Gilbert, 2011).
The design of a serious game is much more challenging than that of a game just played for entertainment. Anders Frank (2007) points out, “the design of a serious game is more challenging than the design of a game in general since the design must not only take care of the motivational aspect, but most also contribute to the overall serious purpose (p.1).” This idea had me thinking that it is possible to create a serious game from something as simplistic as Tic-Tac Toe or Connect Four if these games are altered to teach another purpose or “serious lesson”. However, in order to create a serious game out of ordinary games requires some careful thought. So therefore, it is possible that serious games can almost be any game if the game is made so that there is a serious lesson or educational purpose.
What are the components that make up serious games? According to James Paul Gee (2005) the following list makes up what good serious games incorporate: identity, interaction, production, risk-taking, customization, agency, well-ordered problems, challenge and consolidation, “Just in time” and “on demand” info, situated definitions, pleasantly frustrating, systematic thinking, exploration and lateral thinking, smart tools, cross functional team, and performance before competence. This is a lengthy list, but all of the components that make up good serious games are components that could positively affect the education system. After reviewing the component of good serious games I am planning on incorporating games in my classroom. It just makes sense!
Frank, A. (2007). Balancing Three Different Foci in the Design of Serious Games: Engagement, Training Objective and Context. Situated Play , September, 3-13.
Gee, J. P. (2005). Learning By Design: Good Video Games As Learning Machines. E- Learning, 2(1), 5.
Zack, G. (2014, January 24). EdGamer Episode 10: Games and Learning with James Gee. EdReach RSS. Retrieved January 24, 2014, from http://edreach.us/2011/05/04/edgamer-episode-10-games-