Games are one of the best places where we can use and apply what we’ve learned through our mistakes in order to inform our experience. Games-based learning is an application where we can use games as formative learning experiences to develop ourselves and our students. Games-based learning is based on experiential learning: learning through experience. But there is one thing for certain that needs to happen more in experiential learning: We need to make more mistakes.Read More
Dynamics and loops are some of the most important elements of your game design. When thinking about your game dynamics it’s important to consider the following two questions: 1) What actions can players take? 2) How do those actions help them achieve the game objectives? This article will dive deeper into what game dynamics are as well as how you can use them engage the player in the “core loop” of your game.Read More
Engaging in a state of “flow” is one of the most mesmerizing things that your players can do. They are engaged with your game. They are performing at the top of their ability. They are so engrossed that they begin to lose track of time. A flow state is something that all designers should aim to achieve in their game design. But what is flow? What is a flow state? How can you achieve it in your own designs?Read More
Game themes are often one of the most memorable moments for players. They don’t remember so much the individual actions they took but rather the castle they helped raid; the city they built; or the ship they sailed. The same thing can be said for classes. Students may not remember every lecture, every question, or ever topic ever discussed. But they will remember their outcomes and how they were able to apply what they learned. When done correctly: theme becomes an invisible and inseparable framework for how we define the player experience. When combined with games-based learning; theme and content can help define and shape a memorable and applicable user experience.Read More
The player experience is something that we all shoot for in game design. That’s because the player experience is what the player goes through when they play the game. That experience can be as simple as gamified mechanics in gamification; a games-based learning class; a simulation; or a serious game. The player experience dictates how our creation, our game, is received by our users.Read More
Both gamificaiton and games-based learning have entered popular culture. That means there’s been debate and misunderstanding about what they are; what they’re used for; and what differentiates them. Some people want to use games-based learning when they mean gamificaiton. Others want to use gamificaiton when they should use games-based learning. Just what is the difference between games-based learning and gamificaiton?Read More
There’s a special appeal to playing really hard games. Games were you have to grind it out over time to get anywhere. A type of those really hard games are called roguelikes. But what makes them hard? What makes them appealing? Most importantly: how can we use the difficulty of roguelike games for games-based learning?Read More
Games are a type of work if you think about it. We invest our time in games. We give games our attention and our mental capacities. But why do we do that?
What makes play work? The answer is that great work is also great play. Great play makes us more productive. That means that great games can also help us become better, and more productive, individuals.
Let’s examine game play as work, and why we continue to play games, despite difficulties to the contrary. Part of why we continue to play is because we enjoy the feelings of “competent engagement” that we get from games. This allows us to get more serious about our work. It also affects how we approach game play.Read More
Narratives, toys, puzzles, and games all share some similar characteristics. But what makes them different and how do games tie them all together?Read More
In the end all meaningful choices in games boil down to the player question: how should they play the game?Read More
It’s no surprise when someone tells you that games are fun. Fun is one of the reasons that we play games. But what makes games fun and how can incorporate that into our designs?Read More
Have you experienced that feeling of triumph before? The one you get from completing a really difficult level or beating an experienced opponent? You know, when you throw your hands up over your head in triumph? That feeling is called fiero. Fiero is highly addictive and highly engaging. Often that feeling comes after we’ve become completely engrossed in the game. That’s called being a state of “flow.”Read More
One of the most characteristic things about today’s crop digital games is the grind. The grind, grindyness, or grinding aspect of some games is an aspect that most gamers have experienced at one time or another. But what does that mean? How do players experience it? How can designers and educators of games-based learning address the grind in our designs?Read More
Games and students have many things in common. One of the biggest commonalities are the type’s people they cater to. There will be the first year introductory courses that enroll mostly college freshmen. There are expansive games like Fortnite that appeal to competitive gamers. In between there are a plethora of different options available for many different types of students and gamers alike.
As a designer and instructor it’s best to understand our players and students. The better we understand them, the better able we are to cater to their needs and fully engage them in learning or play.Read More
Black Mirror’s season five premiere Striking Vipers has an oddly coincidental connection to games and the “lusory agreement” the players follow when playing them.Read More
Games and simulations are two things that seem talked about in the same circles. Sometimes they even get misinterpreted for one another. They do share some of the same characteristics; but games and simulations are different from one another.Read More
Feedback is an important part of the learning process. Feedback is also really important for games to be engaging and fun. Feedback in education is based on providing the student with tangible information that they can use to improve their learning, knowledge grasp, or retention. Feedback in a game is provided to the player in order to viscerally show them the impact of their actions.. The two can be combined in order to both meet learners’ outcomes as well as provide some interesting and engaging feedback in a games-based learning environment.Read More
Formal game structures are the cornerstone on which game designers build their experiences. These structures shape what the designer intends to convey and what the player hopes to takeaway. Recognizing these formal structures helps your players define their experience.Read More
Structuring learning is one of the hardest things for an instructor to do. Sometimes that means reusing a syllabus. Other times you have to fit 16 weeks’ worth of content into 10 weeks. In either case, making sure that your students meet all course learning outcomes in your course’s time frame can be difficult.Read More
Games are currently being used for learning and education. Some of the most common practices are gamification, serious games, and games-based learning. Though that is not what many people see in practice. It seems that some of the most popular interpretations for learning games focus on scoreboards keeping track of players’ progress; playful feedback in activities; and tracking of students’ goals and achievements.Read More