The topic for Week 3’s lecture was themed around serious, educational and persuasive games. The review content for week 4 includes:

  • Persuasive Games by Ian Bogost (Chapter 1, pages 1- 60)
  • Chosen text based around educational games: Educational Games Design: How to Create Adaptive, Engaging, and Fun Learning Experiences by Nabila Hamdaoui & co (book, 2019)
  • 7 educational games that every developer should study ( article by Stefanie Fogel, 2017)
  • PLAY: Antura and the Letters by Video Games Without Borders (2018) and Paperbark by Paper House (2018)

Persuasive Games : Chapter 1 — Procedural Rhetoric

Within the first chapter, the meaning behind the term “Procedural Rhetoric” is discussed by Ian Bogost. The topic is introduced through a broader overview of the terms procedure (in relation to processes) and rhetoric through the mediums of spoken, visual and digital.

  • Spoken — act of persuasion through words
  • Visual- communicating through imagery such as photos and text
  • Digital — the act communicated through digital media i.e. a combination of text, imagery, social media, websites etc.

He then continues to liken his findings to the new found persuasive power within video games as this new medium draws aspects of both visual, digital and spoken rhetoric into one outlet.

I particuarly liked how Bogost coined the term “anti-advergame” in reference to The McDonalds video game by Molleindustria. This title still employed the use of procedural rhetoric but in a different manner, due to the aim being to discourage or persuade users not to support the company’s business practices. Many games surrounding major brands tend to try to sell or persuade potential customers to purchase their products.

Educational Games Design: How to Create Adaptive, Engaging, and Fun Learning Experiences

This chapter, taken from Handbook of Research on Immersive Digital focuses on the current standard for education games, the pro’s and con’s and how they can be improved.

For example, educational or learning based games, are currently said to be either too focused on the learning aspect that they lose the fun prospects and become less engaging or vice versa. A method proposed to combat this is to create a new standard or development guidelines for these types of games as to develop the titles to produce the same experience, no matter the technical specification or gameplay. The aim of this would be to produce a format that would allow developers to develop edu-games quicker, easier and make them more suitable for purpose; easily add content e.g. difficulty, additional levels as they currently have no replay-ability.

An interesting point made is associated with the ways in which a user learns. For example, a simulation was created in 2009 that adapted to the players style of learning. It was reported that users found the results to be more satisfying, engaging and overall a better experience as it aligned with their needs. This is a type of implicit modelling as it gathers information more discreetly, explicit on the other hand, is less so and relies on items like questionaires to gather information.

The main styles of learning mentioned are:

  • Divergent – Prefer to watch than do. They are a people person and prefer to work in groups.
  • Assimilative – A good, clear explanation is important. They are good with absorbing large ranges of information.
  • Convergent – Good at using new found knowledge to solve problems. They are best at practical and technical tasks.
  • Accomodative – This type relies on experiences and others for information such as demonstrations. Often form ideas based on intuition rather than logic.

Kolb’s definitions of learning styles are linked to Bartle’s pre-defined playing styles as shown within the chart below:

I found this particularly interesting as it didn’t always match up to my pre-existing expectations.

7 Educational Games that Every Developer Should Study

This article by gamasutra lists 7 games of which game designers have agreed that they serve an educational purpose. Such as:

  • Dragonbox Algebra — A fun exciting way to educate users on a traditionally boring topic such as maths; learning disguised as fun.
  • Mario Teaches Typing — user inputs words that translate as Mario, Luigi or Princess Peach’s actions on screen. By using existing familar and beloved game characters it made the experience more fun.
  • Typing of the Dead — By typing words as a method of input, the player must react quickly to kill the zombies on screen. This was a quirky adaptation of the “The House of the Dead” series; changing the input method can create a great educational game.
  • Minecraft — It’s great at fostering creativitiy, sometimes collaborative play can be the most effective method of educating users.
  • Human Resource Machine — A puzzle game that teaches users programming skills. It starts off with basic tasks and slowly gets harder as the game progresses. This title has been chosen due to highlighting the need to start off small when teaching a new skill.
  • This War of Mine — Not a traditional educational game but provides players with a valuable insight to warfare from a civilians perspective.
  • Assassin’s Creed series — Not usually thought of as an educational game but the titles explore historical themes through alternative narratives.

Antura and the Letters

Antura and the Letters is an educational game designed to assist children with learning the arabic alphabet. Although I am not familar with the language, the UI and gameplay was intutive enough that I was still able to grasp what to do and how to progress.

The overal aim is for players to complete the tasks such as the one highlighted in the screenshot of tracing the letters. Depending on how well they are completed dictates the star rating (top left screenshot) and provides bones which are currency for buying items for the dog. This aspect of challenge and reward is vital to creating a fun children’s experience.

Paperbark

Paperbark is a point and click adventure game created by the Australian studio, Paper House in response to the Australian wildfires.

The game is a calm and relaxing experience in which the player navigates through the environment as a wombat. Due to the game not displaying violence or featuring strong language etc, it is suitable for all ages. Even the fire is represented as a contrasting orange overlay in the center with grey for smoke around the edges.

Although this isn’t an educational experience in the traditional sense, such as it doesn’t teach an academic topic like english or maths. I feel that it teaches users about the animals within australian wildlife which is recorded on a sheet (see screenshot above), their habitat and the effects of wildlifes.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store