What are serious games?
Computer and video games are not only interesting entertainment mediums, but also useful tools for education, treatment, and problem-solving due to their fun, social, and interactive features. The technical word for these kinds of computer and video games is “serious games.” Serious games are utilized in a wide range of methods to convey complicated information, boost motivation, and assist patients in their recovery. Games therefore have enormous potential. Because serious games can significantly help with all of these social concerns, whether it be aiding with the aging of our population or interactively imparting new information and skills. They are easily deployed and have definite advantages over traditional learning techniques, independent of the age or gaming preferences of the users.
While education is depicted through the learning of game information and comprehension of the player’s world, playfulness refers to periods of leisure and enjoyment. Playing games may help you strengthen your social skills, attention span, focus, logical thinking, and other abilities. The idea to develop and broaden the notion of educational games is brought by serious games. With an emphasis on management and training applied through gaming mechanics, they seek to address societal issues with the intention of producing consequences outside of the virtual realms and enhancing the player’s own knowledge in the real world.
What are serious games?
We can spend hours playing video games. They are a staple of our daily pleasure and relaxation habit. How can we use gaming mechanics to persuade people to take action to combat global warming? How might gaming technology help us explore data in depth and achieve scientific breakthroughs? Serious games are those that go beyond simple entertainment. The phrase serious games, often referred to as applied games, was initially used to distinguish between casual games for pleasure and games with a serious consequence.
Games designed for a purpose other than enjoyment are known as serious games, and they can be used for important goals like learning and transformation. Serious games have intrinsic value built into the mechanics, story, and design of the game. They differ from for-profit video games in this way, which makes them unique. Defined as an interface between learning, simulation, and games, serious games can use a variety of gaming technologies to drive or support personal training and industry-wide progress. Serious games not only provide more interactive learning, but also harness the power of competition to create a sense of accomplishment and motivate participants to optimize their performance.
Gamification and serious games are frequently conflated in the minds of people. You shouldn’t use the terms interchangeably since they are not the same. A serious game is one where the gameplay is created to have a purpose other than just entertainment. They are ideal for motivating learners, encouraging friendly workplace rivalry, providing on-demand learning, and positive reinforcement. On the other side, gamification uses game-like elements like badges, leaderboards, and point systems to boost engagement and productivity. These components engage the audience and significantly improve learning retention.
Which Industries use Serious Games?
Today, corporations across all sectors are required to use serious games. Since they may be used to solve a variety of issues and challenges, serious games are utilized in many different contexts. We see serious games more frequently than other types of games in the following areas:
Digital games have modernized training in the health department, Instead of using standard medical training methods, medical simulation offers a more affordable and risk-free option. To help in recovery, games are frequently employed in clinical therapy. Digital games in the health sector are used for doctor training on the one hand, for example, to practice operations or impart specialized knowledge, and on the other hand, they are targeted at the individual end user who uses them, for example, as motivational tools for a healthier lifestyle, nutrition, or for rehabilitation. Serious Games may also be utilized as a teaching tool for patients who learn about their clinical profiles and potential therapeutic alternatives. In programs for health education, the usage of serious games is expanding.
Serious games that inspire play and movement are among them. Wii Sports, for instance, may be used by anybody of any age or physical ability to strengthen their upper body muscles and hand-eye coordination, whether they are working out alone or with others. Depending on the user, even straightforward Jump-n-run games may be instructional. They help the user’s finger mobility, response time, and eye-finger coordination by serving as a component of rehabilitation therapy.
Security-related serious games focus on recruiting, disaster relief, and the military industry. They are beneficial to public, private, and municipal organizations including the police, fire departments, Federal Agency for Technical Relief, DRK, crisis centers, and NGOs. Simulated scenarios include natural catastrophes, terrorist attacks, risk mitigation, and emergency medical treatment. Thus, with less resources and expenses, it is possible to test challenges like acting under time and pressure to succeed. The second focus point was this region. The Emergency game series or the ability to examine a community’s response in a catastrophe management game are examples of serious games from this industry. The psychological effects that exist in actual life-threatening situations are not realistic in a serious game, but training in a serious game and exposure to the conditions and limitations of disaster management can help teams respond more effectively in actual disaster management situations and improve risk mitigation techniques.
Under Government uses
Games and gaming techniques have gained popularity in government as a tool for teaching, managing change, enhancing work culture, and increasing citizen participation.
Fitness and Well-Being
Across all of today’s consoles, fitness games are a common genre. The active progress of the player is tracked via console add-ons like the Nintendo Switch controller and PS4 portable sensors.
Training and consultancy
NFP games have gained popularity recently as businesses try for fresh approaches to grab the public’s attention. Their goal is to bring attention to the widespread societal, cultural, and environmental issues and to promote change.
More people play educational games now than ever before, and 75% of teachers incorporate digital game-based learning into their courses. Serious games are the most effective teaching strategy for curricula from nursery school to university students.
Soldier training simulators, like those found in games like America’s Army, are employed for both the recruiting and training of new soldiers. In order to acquaint players with the perils, tactics, methods, weapons, and vehicles of battle, the games attempt to portray it as accurately as possible. These particular uses of serious games are not the only ones.
Categories of serious games
Serious games come in a variety of forms, but they always have basic characteristics. Serious games have a good deal of structure. The rules may be altered, but they are not completely abandoned. The majority of the games don’t announce winners. Instead, they announce the outcomes. It offers a score that indicates how well a student is prepared to use their knowledge to solve a problem. There is a time limit on some games. Users may often do the task in a few minutes or hours. Process-oriented and outcome-focused serious games are the two main categories.
Games that focus on different processes have various frameworks to reflect these differences. Process-oriented games lack ultimate goals and are discovery-driven. The main educational benefit of the experience is in the player’s decision-making processes. The best games for research, decision-making, and simulation are process-oriented games. Games that simulate real-world situations and activities let players experience them virtually. An attempt is made to mimic real-world actions in a simulation game for a variety of goals, including visualization, analysis, and prediction.
Decision-Making Games: Games that emphasize decision-making aim to make difficult decision-making processes simpler. The organization of these procedures into a game can promote citizen participation, ideation, and organizational effectiveness.
Discovery Games: You may learn new information about a subject by playing serious games that emphasize discovery. Research, market research, and team-building may all benefit from the usage of discovery games.
It is well known that decision-making games take the place of the conventional decision-making procedure. They are useful for assigning projects a priority, coming up with a variety of ideas for the team to pick from, and other related tasks. The player is forced to do tasks in outcome-oriented games in order to reach a predetermined objective. Reaching the objective, which is often the mastering of a skill or the accomplishment of action, is the central focus of all game actions. The best video games for education, persuasion, and motivation are those that are outcome-oriented.
Motivational Games: Similar to fitness games, motivation games give players a set of rewards in the real world to inspire them to reach their intrinsic objectives.
Persuasive Games: The goal of persuasive games is to alter the participants’ viewpoints or inspire them to act right away. Advergames and political games are examples of applications for persuasive games.
Educational Games: Educational game design focuses on imparting knowledge. These games employ play to help us learn new abilities and enable us to accomplish learning objectives. A methodology known as Game-Based Learning is applied in educational games.
Top Benefits of Serious Games
Even though more than half of American adults now regularly play video games, there are still a lot of skeptics. For example, when people think of video games, they often think of hyperactive teenage boys squandering hours in front of screens rather than grownups working hard. Nevertheless, there are many reasons to accept gaming as a significant method of learning new abilities. Indeed, serious games are quickly emerging as one of the most effective methods in the training industry today. The purpose of this piece is to explain why training and gaming are becoming more and more common activities.
- Addiction to video games
Both traditional video games and game-based learning have an addictive quality. While the addictive nature of games is sometimes criticized (and in certain situations, it’s a major issue), when it comes to training, building a platform that makes staff members want to use it repeatedly is a positive. Completeness of training modules is the main issue that trainers deal with. One efficient solution to this issue is through serious gaming.
- Real-World Situations Can Be Applied to Games
Serious games that are well-designed help pupils learn new abilities and understand complicated ideas. They can instantly put these ideas and abilities to use in real-world circumstances since they are learning them in an interactive setting. With a conventional textbook or a training video, this is not the case. The number of realistic settings that are accessible to students is growing as 3-D games gain popularity.
- Game-based Training and Task Mastery
Levels and goals are features found in games that motivate players to keep trying until they master a task. There is mounting evidence that individuals work harder to master things at work when their employers use serious games as a teaching tool. In the workplace, trial and error becomes the new standard.
- Games Provide Instantaneous Reaction
Levels and goals are common in video games; these features motivate players to keep playing until they master a certain skill. There is mounting evidence that when companies use serious games as a teaching aid, people work harder to grasp their jobs. Workplace experimentation and failure become the new standard.
- Gaming Encourages Multitasking
The majority of games need players to manage many inputs at once. More than ever, multitasking is necessary in the workplace today. In this regard, serious games provide a realistic representation of the majority of modern jobs and encourage multitasking in a highly engaging and interactive setting.
- Interactive gaming
Games are always participatory and never a one-to-many medium of communication (like television, cinema, or radio). In other words, players must have an active role in creating the game. This gives workers the ability to participate in training on a new level by helping to write the training narrative in training situations. The concept of the passive learner—someone who only listens and takes notes—is gradually disappearing in the age of serious gaming.
- Games Encourage Collaboration
The collaborative aspect of serious games is one of their most noteworthy advantages. An increasing corpus of research shows that individuals who perform well in serious game contexts also perform well in collaborative settings. In other words, serious games aid in the development of the abilities needed for workers to collaborate more successfully with their colleagues.
- Playing serious games can lead to innovation.
In serious games, it is feasible to place employees in challenging circumstances—to position them in settings where a variety of factors test their ability to react to brand-new, high-stakes events. Because of this, serious games are also associated with encouraging creative thought and action. They put employees under pressure to think creatively and battle to solve even the most complex issues.
Users of all ages are changing learning via the usage of serious games. They help with information retention, which is why they are used by both teachers and corporate instructors. Serious games also provide younger learners a stronger feeling of autonomy, raise their self-esteem, and increase their willingness to study. Not to add that gamified learning makes learning much more enjoyable.
The Best 10 Serious Games Ever Played
One of the first serious games to explicitly integrate gaming with education was Minecraft, which is maybe the most well-known serious game today. In the sandbox video game Minecraft, users construct their own 3D environment using a variety of various building pieces. Players may gather resources, construct structures, battle enemies threatening their planet, and explore new territory in search of inspiration. No matter how skillful they are, players are compelled to engage their imagination and inventiveness every time they play. And this is good for youngsters since, according to 2016 research, playing Minecraft regularly boosted brain function and gave them a solid foundation in computer programming. Currently, a version designed exclusively for schools is available.
Kids that are acquiring STEAM abilities have shown a preference for Lightbot. Children may learn to code by resolving a variety of problems on the Lightbot website and in its applications. The game has two levels, one for players aged 4 to 8 and the other for those aged 9 and older. Lightbot gamers already have a significant edge because coding is becoming a necessary talent for today’s youngsters.
Re-Mission was established in 2006 to assist young cancer patients in improving their physical and mental well-being while receiving treatment. In each of the six games, players are placed inside a cancer-infected human body. To combat the sickness and ultimately annihilate it, they must employ various tools and abilities. It’s an effective technique for cancer patients to understand more about how their body responds and to adopt a perseverance-focused mindset.
Fate of the World
In 2011, Fate of the World made an effort to address climate change, which had not yet been a widely discussed issue. In this sobering game, participants cooperate with assigned “agents” to put policies in place that could halt global warming. Additionally, they strive to end energy shortages, eradicate food insecurity, and halt the development of nuclear weapons. The game Fate of the World demonstrated how serious games may be utilized for the benefit of the globe.
Whyville, one of the older games on the list, debuted in 1999 and was well ahead of advancements in modern serious games. A virtual world called Whyville offers more than 100 games to kids under the age of 8 and 15. These games cover a wide range of topics, including how to put together an outfit and the fundamentals of chess, robot programming, and math challenges. Regardless of the games they select, players end up expressing their creativity and honing their critical analysis, judgment, and entrepreneurial abilities.
IBM City One
A realistic city-building simulation called IBM City One was created in 2010 to solve issues with urban planning throughout the world. IBM Municipal One might be used by civil engineers and city officials to navigate and develop solutions for real-world problems including energy use, water use, and retail expansion. A major game with significant ramifications was played.
Journey to the Wild Divine
One of the earliest games that seriously tackled issues with general health was Journey to the Wild Divine. To encourage wellness and stress reduction, players adopted best practices in breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. In addition, the game had biofeedback devices that allowed players to gather data and view real-time proof of how the game affected their well-being. A number of serious games with a health theme are currently sold by the business, which has changed its name to Unyte.
Online game DragonBox Elements teaches kids geometry. In more than 100 levels, players play and explore to discover the characteristics of fundamental forms and resolve geometrical issues. The game has been made available in both home and educational versions.
A training game called Pulse!! Imitates almost every facet of contemporary surgery. Players have the opportunity to go through case-based learning modules and practice on virtual patients in the serious game. It’s a risk-free, extremely realistic approach for them to perfect their abilities without endangering actual patients. Pulse!! Is a game that is only available to the medical profession and is not a commercial release, in contrast to many of the other games on this list.
Pacific is a serious game with a survivalist theme that teaches management techniques. The gamer and his pals crash their hot air balloon in Pacific. To fix the hot air balloon and transport everyone safely to their homes, the player will need to use leadership, management, and teamwork abilities. The multilingual game, which is accessible in English, Spanish, French, and German, is sweeping organizations throughout the globe.
Each of these games, as well as numerous more that aren’t included here, serves as an example of how serious games may not only change the way we learn but also aid in the development of marketable talents, independence, and empathy for others people. Online instruction and fun are used in serious games to enhance learning. The most frequently asked questions about serious gaming are listed in this article.
Answering the Top 5 Serious Games FAQs
There have been serious games for many years. But in recent years, contemporary technology has introduced a completely new level of engagement and immersion. Still, there is some mystery about this effective online teaching strategy. We’ll look at some of the most frequently asked questions about serious games and their application in online training in this post.
- What Are Serious Games?
Depending on who you ask, the phrase “serious game” has a wide range of definitions. But generally speaking, it refers to a game created with online training in mind. It uses a range of gaming features to occupy and inspire online students. To access each level of the online training simulation, for instance, employees must complete virtual assignments. Simulated serious games often give online learners the chance to regularly experience challenges from the real world.
- Do Serious Games And Gamification Have Any Differences?
Gamification is frequently confused with serious games, and vice versa. There are noticeable distinctions, though. A serious game is a stand-alone online training activity that may be incorporated into your complete online training course or utilized as a micro learning online resource.
- What Benefits Can Serious Games Bring To Online Training?
There are many advantages of using serious games in online training courses:
a. Boost online student engagement
The greatest aspects of both worlds are combined in serious games. Students who learn online have the chance to put their acquired skills and knowledge to use. However, players also get to beat “bosses,” go on to the next level, and gather uncommon items. This unusual mix encourages participation. Serious games captivate online students’ attention and eliminate outside distractions. They concentrate on the current work because they want to put themselves to the test and see whether they can finish it.
b. Ensure Practical Application
Real-world scenarios and obstacles are a hallmark of successful serious games. Online students must thus make full use of their abilities, information, and resources to complete the task. Even if the online training experience includes some fictitious game components, it is still contextual. As a result, online students learn how to use the knowledge in practical situations to get beyond challenges and realize their full potential.
c. Give Personalized Recommendations
The method of online training must include feedback. Additionally, more nuanced immediate individualized input is provided by serious games. Online instructors, facilitators, or the LMS itself provide insight on the strengths and shortcomings of online learners in conventional online training courses. In the case of serious games, errors or improper conduct hinder online students from progressing to the following level. They are aware that in order to perform better and pass the level, they must focus on these areas. They can then look for more online resources to fill up their own knowledge and skill gaps as a consequence.
d. Simplify difficult topics
Experience is the foundation of serious gaming. Due to their propensity to learn by doing, online learners can better grasp complicated subject matter by completing assignments and utilizing the online resources that are provided. In an online training simulation, for instance, they are required to do each stage of the procedure. This offers students the ability to learn more about each level and apply it in real-world situations.
- What Roles Do Serious Games Play In Online Learning?
Serious games are versatile and simple to modify. They may therefore be used in almost any online training project, from task performance to skill upskilling. Online compliance training is one of the most popular applications. To usually dry compliance issues, serious games bring a degree of pleasure and excitement. Each serious game needs to be in line with a certain learning goal; this is the key. By doing so, cognitive overload is avoided, and performance discrepancies are shown.
- How Can Serious Games Be Incorporated Into A Social Learning Approach?
It’s common to think of serious games as asynchronous learning activities. By combining it with other social learning activities, you may increase its social and collaborative aspects. Invite your online students, for instance, to participate in a social media group or online forum where they may ask questions about the serious game. They might use this chance to provide advice and useful resource links. Even leaderboards may be added to your serious game to encourage friendly rivalry.It’s easy to appreciate the significance of serious games in our culture now that you are more knowledgeable about them. Serious games with a clear goal and a well-thought-out design have the potential to influence lives of players as well as businesses. Serious games tap into our most fundamental human motivator needs and provide us the chance to have fun, better ourselves, or maybe change the world. Serious games have the capacity to increase training ROI and employee enthusiasm, and more and more businesses are utilizing this power. However, dynamic, interesting, and enjoyable serious games may enhance practically any online training session.
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