Publication – How serious is serious game design?

As I have had experience on serious games during my study and minor on serious gaming, I was asked to collaborate on a research paper on the topic, and the different approaches on the design of which. Below you can read the abstract.

Game design is a trending multi-million business with an accompanying large body of research with almost 80.000 publications on Scopus. Based on serious games we and our students have created over the years we identified 4 different types of approaches to serious game design. In the current paper we present 4 exemplary games spanning two main game design approaches: a goal-oriented or context focused approach, and a more entertainment-oriented approach. Secondly, we looked at the technology was used in the game (e.g. either board or more oriented at computer games). Based on a structured literature search we furthermore made a selection of 7 papers on which the framework was mapped. In the seminal work we see a similar distinction in game design approaches emerging. In addition, we see opportunities for a more hybrid way of designing serious games. We see opportunities for a better mix of the goal-oriented and entertainment-oriented in order to reach a broader target audience. This paper adds a relevant view for the manner in which the field approaches the design of serious games. It allows to reflect on the merits of a more entertainment-oriented versus a more goal-oriented approach (e.g. a structured need-driven HCI approach). We postulate that this could have an impact on the way we educate and also how we can approach commercial projects.

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