Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Discussion and Recommendations
the norm in many commercial games and TV
programs. Here, as well as in television contests,
there must be a challenge that the player can un-
derstand and may be able to succeed at by using
his or her knowledge, intelligence, and dexterity.
To be engaging an educational game or simulation
must be composed of purposeful, goal-oriented,
rule-based activities that the players perceive as
fun. This means that we must be aware of any
signs of either cognitive overload or excessive
dispersion of attention in the players that may
impair learning activities. At the end of the day,
designers and instructors have to ask if the amount
of potential learning is justified by the amount of
work and time to implement the game. And must
be willing to admit that often it is not!
To test our conceptual framework we analyzed
many off-the-shelf games in an attempt to as-
sess its potential for selection, repurposing and
implementation in ODL. Following the AIDLET
model, we made use of a scoreboard to evalu-
ate the sensible application of typical examples
representing the main categories and genres of
games (summarized in table 2).
Popular games may range from shooting games
to casual games, from role-playing games to fam-
ily entertainment games. However, our findings
concerning the potential of games in ODL show
that simulations, strategy (RTS) and role-playing
games (RPG) are the genres that may support
good quality learning according to the AIDLET
framework. This is in line with the ESA report
(2008) that indicates strategy (33.9%) and role-
playing (18.8%) games as best selling games sold
for play on computer systems. Success titles of
these categories include SimCity, The Sims,
Civilization, Age of Empires, Final Fantasy and
Warcraft . Many of these games are supported by
high quality simulations and have been used for
educational purposes. Furthermore, some of them
are responsible for engaging large groups of re-
motely located users, leading to the expansion of
educational projects in many organizations, some-
times using multiplayer online role-play gaming
approaches as a means for engaging and retaining
large remotely located learner groups (De Freitas
& Griffiths, 2007). On a less positive note, we
are aware that games are not for all topics, learn-
ers, or environments; games are effective only if
matched to content, learning styles, digital liter-
acy and educational context, also, they may be
expensive to integrate and implement. In addition,
not all games are alike as they have diverse un-
derlying strengths and strategies.
The field of game-based learning is chang-
ing so fast that it is hard to keep up with all the
research. As a result, there is an opportunity for
new research and researchers to focus on the
Thematic Value and Adequacy
These are perhaps the most subjective of all the
factors in the model: what is “valuable” and what
is “adequate”. But these are important criteria
because we have to consider information that is
relevant to a specific culture, society, group or
organization. Many games and simulations will not
be suitable for adoption because of issues related
to religion, politics or race, for example. On the
other hand, many games and simulations were
developed to engage players in a very respectful
game play, for instance, World Without Oil or
Food Force (World Food Program), but may not
be suitable for the specific learning goals set out
in the curriculum. Furthermore, some games and
simulations may be too restrictive and prevent
students from developing their own meanings,
interpretations and critical views. This also means
inquiring what instructional activities can be cre-
ated to maximally address weaknesses of the game
(e.g., missing, misleading or inaccurate content).
Other essential aspects to evaluate are the top-
ics breadth or depth, and the types of strategies
that are promoted by game (e.g., trial and error,
problem-based, etc.).
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