GAME DESIGN, SERIOUS GAMES & GAMIFICATION

 

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According to Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, « A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome. » [1]. Besides providing motivation, games can become powerful tools when it comes to role-playing situations defined by context-based rules and that is basically why they have been used so often in education lately. But since the Gaming Industry is only about 60 years-old, terms like serious game, gamification -or even Game Design itself-  are fairly new to everyone: Gamification has been defined as the use of characteristics commonly associated with video games in non-game contexts, whereas a serious game or applied game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment [2].

 

For Brad Paras, games foster play, which produces a state of flow, which increases motivation, which supports the learning process [3]. Therefore, nowadays designers’ stake in Education would be to conceive engaging environments where game mechanics and learning dynamics would be strongly seamlessly connected and codependent.

 

In 2000, Carlo Fabricator differentiates two ways of conceiving serious games by speaking of extrinsic metaphor for those in which the playfulness comes in addition to learning and intrinsic metaphor for those in whom learning is at the heart of the gameplay . Thus, it gives a more restricted definition of serious games, based on the intrinsic metaphor: «[…]a virtual environment and a gaming experience in which the contents that we want to teach can be naturally embedded with some contextual relevance in terms of the game-playing[…]». Serious games are therefore Learning Environments whose main feature is the introduction of pleasure and motivation specific to video games at the very heart of the learner’s interactions with the system. And it reaches every learning & training professional domains, even the most formal one, like Accounting in serious game “The Good, The Bad, and the Accountant” [4].

 

Nevertheless, in the « EIAH 2011 » Conference, Bertrand Marne warns: « The introduction of the concepts of motivation and pleasure of video games into serious games engineering also poses a problem of articulation, more precisely a balance between pleasure, motivation and learning. […] This problem requires to work together actors with different expertise: trainers or experts in the field to teach, with game designers and video game specialists. »

 

This project is about finding that right balance between these concepts and reaching an emulation of creativity and productivity for this team of experts. Furthermore, the very core of this methodology represents a huge collaborative challenge between teachers and video game specialists.

 

[1] Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric (2003). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-262-24045-9.

[2] Djaouti, Damien; Alvarez, Julian; Jessel, Jean-Pierre. « Classifying Serious Games: the G/P/S model » (PDF). Retrieved 26 June 2015.

[3] Paras, B., & Bizzocchi, J. (2005). Game, Motivation, and Effective Learning: An Integrated Model for Educational Game Design. In DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views – Worlds in Play.

[4] Le Bon, La Brute et le Comptable :  https://jplusplus.github.io/the-accountant/fr.html#/

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