Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How do we take Serious Games seriously?

There is something about the title Serious Games that always makes me feel uneasy. NOT because I have an issue with the intent behind them, but because they throw up too many layers of misinterpretation.

When I think about Serious Games I cannot suppress the peripheral thoughts of Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and a mass shoot'em ups like Doom...

And this is precisely the sort of baggage that anyone not closely aligned to the Serious Game movement will also start to picture too. They will conjour up thoughts of immersive, thrill seeking, high-end graphics and "Hollywood" production values that are packaged for the High Street.

A laudable vision, but not necessarily that realistic to achieve for most organisations.

Without a shadow of a doubt CONTEXT is crucial to effective learning, and it doesn't require a Phd to appreciate that creating an accurate context for learning interventions that enables you to rehearse for "real life" will create a much more engaging and meangingful experince.

Without out a doubt learners want stimulating and enthralling learning experiences that are immersive and engaging. And those are goals we should all be striving to achieve.

I suppose my question to you is, would you talk to a senior business figure in your organisation and use the phrase - Serious Game? And my second question is would you expect to be taken seriously?

I think you might have struggled to get credibility and traction if you suggested that airline pilots were going to learn from a Serious Flying Game? Raised eyebrows and frowns but no nods....

So, does a rose by another other name smell so sweet...? Yes, but only if you let it near enough to smell it.... and the name in this case it may well be getting in the way.

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