Friday, October 20, 2006

But seriously... 'Beneficial' or 'Serious' Games

Serious Games Summit is approaching but I am unable to attend because I will go to Istanbul and Brussels instead -- and will probably be discussing about similar issues as my colleagues at the Serious Games (SG) Summit. Why there suddently is so much fuss about socially acceptable games? Are SG's hot and topical or just overly hyped?

I would say 'yes' and 'no'. SG's 'are intended to not only entertain users, but have additional purposes such as education and training' (Wikipedia). But why are they called SERIOUS games, what's so serious about beneficial purposes and how to link them with pleasure? Has is something to do with categorizing things? The same way as girls are CASUAL gamers and boys are usually ranked as HC gamers? Are 'serious games' just another tendency towards presentability of games, an intention to make them mainstream?

I am not that fond of the term 'serious games' but I very much like the idea of utilizing interaction, structure and/or dynamics of digital (leisure) games in other fields. 'Everyone publishes' idea will increase the challenges of so called information overload: how to personalise content, how to deliver right information/data to right user(s) at right time and using most convenient delivery channels. I believe games really have a lot to offer to this discussion.

Currently there are several initiatives focusing on related issues (besides Serious Games Initiative): Games for Change, Games for Health, Games for Brain... Ok, ok the brain-thing is a bit different but the idea behind that site is definitely related to this topic. A big part of the development is still very much technology-driven; 'cool GPS, and 2D bar codes... should we create some UBIQUITOUS game out of it....'. There are also attempts to link sectors that have been quite far from each other, like technology development with social politics, welfare work or pedagogs.

After match-making, the next HUGE challenge is marketing. It took 5+ years to come up with plausible ideas how to turn Internet communities into money-makers, now it is the time to start considering how to promote serious games or at least push them from the shadows of fringe to the marginal of digital games.


kim said...

nice info! Can I link to my blog here about using Commercial off the shelf videogames for language learning?

Anonymous said...

nice info! Can I link to my blog here about using Commercial off the shelf videogames for language learning?

SonjaK said...

Sure, you can if you find it useful for you :)