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  • AlterCulture Studios

Various Definitions of Serious Games


(5-minute read) Before I conclude, I have to briefly address a potential elephant in the room, which I promise I will get deeper into in another article, which are the following topics: Gamification, Edutainment, Games4Change, Simulations.. Are they the same thing as Serious Games? Or are they subsets of each other in some shape or form? Other than our natural draw towards categorising and putting things in boxes, I often face the challenge of having misalignment with how others use these terms, many at-times interchangeably where I personally feel they shouldn’t. Based on my conversations with my fellow gamification consultant Xi-Wei Yeo of Living Theories who I co-teach our Games & Gamification course at Civil Service College, we have our internal stance. Separate Categories Simulations: Accurate reflections of reality, with reality being the driving force for its design Example: Flight Simulators that pilots use to practice flying Serious Games: Games that utilise the Magic Circle to drive a primary outcome that is non-entertainment Example: Best Festival Ever, This War of Mine Gamification: Strategies and experiences that enhance people motivation and interactivity, where the design of the system utilises game systems Example: Membership rewards programs Types of Serious Games Edutainment: Games where the primary outcome is education, especially in schools Example: Math Blaster Games4Change: Games where the primary outcome is to drive social change Example: Games For Change Simulations, Serious Games and Gamification are separate categories, but can exist together in the same experience resulting in hybrids, while Edutainment and Games4Change are under the category of Serious Games. If you did quick research online, there are multiple schools of thought on how these should be defined. The other schools have very sound explanations on how and why they categorise and define them as such, and therefore I think are all valid if used in the right context. What is more important is that everyone in the conversation decides on the same taxonomy as the basis of discussion. Last but not least, I will be concluding all parts of the series in the upcoming post! Feel free to share any new insights about Serious Games that you might have by leaving a comment. #seriousgames #gamification #edutainment #VR #AR #Games4change #Games4Good #alterculturestudios #gameseducation #gamedesign #simulations #magiccircle


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