Nicholas lim chong_hock_(s3186372)_mc2_assign2_serious_games_presentation
A presentation by:
Nicholas Lim Chong Hock S3186372
Media Cultures 2
What is a Serious Game?
• Per Backlund defines serious games as "games that engage the user, and contribute to the achievement
of a defined purpose other than pure entertainment (whether or not the user is consciously aware of it). A
game’s purpose may be formulated by the user her/himself or by the game designer, which means that
also a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) game, used for non-entertainment purposes, may be considered a
*Per Backlund holds a PhD from Stockholm University in Computer Science and is currently a senior lecturer at
University of Skovde, Sweden. He is currently managing the InGaMe Lab (Interactive Game Media Laboratory)
research group which is focusing on the fields of computer games and other interactive media. He has worked on
different serious game projects within different application areas such as training, education and rehabilitation (health
field). He is also the coordinator of the study programme of a recent Master degree in Serious Game at University of
Definitions Part 2
“There is no single definition of serious games, though they are generally held to be games
used for training, advertising, simulation, or education. Alternate definitions include the
application of games concepts, technologies and ideas to non-entertainment applications.
Serious games include and are more than those intended for an audience outside of
primary or secondary education. Serious games can be of any genre, use any game
technology, and be developed for any platform. Some may consider them a kind of
edutainment; however, the mainstay of the community are resistant to this term..
A serious game may be a simulation which has the look and feel of a game, but
corresponds to non-game events or processes, including business operations and military
operations. The games are intended to provide an engaging, self-reinforcing context in
which to motivate and educate the players. Other purposes for such games include
marketing and advertisement. The largest users (unsubstantiated by business intelligence)
of SGs (serious games) appear to be the US government and medical professionals. Other
commercial sectors are actively pursuing development of these types of tools as well.”
Definitions - Part 3
• A serious game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment.
The "serious" adjective is generally appended to refer to products used by industries like
defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city
planning, engineering, religion, and politics.
• - Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serious_game
• Serious Games: The application of gaming technology, process, and design to the solution
of problems faced by businesses and other organizations. Serious games promote the
transfer and cross fertilization of game development knowledge and techniques in
traditionally non-game markets such as training, product design, sales, marketing, etc.
Definitions – Continued: Distinguishing Serious Games, Games,
Training Simulations, Based on Intent
In this case, games, serious games, and trainning simulations can be easily distinguished if you consider what they
are and may be used for, relative to the person playing or participating in its use.
Hannah Johnston and Anthony Whitehead of the School of Information Technology, Carleton University Canada
compare the above classification and distinction between the three things to reading a book. A person may be
seeking knowledege, entertainment, or reference.
Johnston & Whitehead presents this example: a mathematician reads a maths book purely for reference (call it a
manual) as it is based in his/her work, and is extremely close to his/her's reality. This same book is read by a
student, and its contents are far enough from the student's everyday life to be considered a textbook. A maths
enthusiast, however, reads it for recreational purposes and enjoys doing so – in this case the book read by
mathematician and student is now, simply a book.
A person using a flight simulator for fun may still learn something about flying an actual plane despite the fact that
the original intent was for entertainment. Here, the simulator is treated as a expensive game. When the same
simulator is used by a student to actually learn how to be a pilot, the game is classified as a serious game. A
professional pilot may use the simulator as a training device to learn life-saving and essential maneouvers which are
tied to his/ her daily tasks.
We can see here how the
context or the intent of the
use of a book or a game is
visually represented to
reinforce Johnston and
• A Advergaming - used to advertise other products. Example: I Love Bees.
This was a real-world experience and a viral marketing campaign promoting Halo 2 for the original
Xbox in 2004. As players solved puzzles, the site gradually released audio logs concerning this
game’s fictional backstory which was set in the Halo Universe. Note that this marketing storyline
was not canonical.
This site/ metagame/ advergame got a lot of people
interested in what was to be seen in Halo 2, or simply
to get a sense of what the Halo universe was about.
4 Edutainment/Games-Based Learning -
4 These games have defined learning outcomes. Generally they are designed in order to
balance the subject matter with the gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and
apply said subject matter to the real world. One of the first edutainment games was the
Seven Cities of Gold.
The Seven Cities of Gold created by Ozark Softscape
in 1984 put players in the role of a 15th century
Spanish explorer in the New World. They had to interact
with the natives to gain gold and favour with the Spanish
Court. Players could choose a peaceful approach or
aggressive approach. The game encouraged peaceful
solutions to in-game problems, and was influenced by historical
Events of that era. In short, players got a taste of historical accuracy
And hopefully, they learned to get along with other human beings
In real life by favouring diplomacy and co-operation.
4 “If you continually abuse the natives you will eventually see a message from the king saying
'Don't treat the natives so badly. But keep the gold coming.' This double standard is straight
out of history.”
- Daniel Paul Bunten, designer of the game.
• Diverted or News Games - These games directly discuss and present political or
Examples include September 12th: a free Shockwave game where players try to
solve the terrorist problem. The developers intended for players to get thinking
about what happens to the civilians of places like Afghanistan and Iraq, where the
'War on Terror' is waged.
The game is available for free here:
"It was the first game we made where every
design decision was hell. Do people cry over
-Gonzalo Frasca,of Powerful Robot Games -
developer of September 12th game.
These games are exactly as they sound, they simulate real-world actions. A prime example is Microsoft's long-running
Flight Simulator series.
Flight Simulator was created by Bruce Artwick. He first came up with the idea in the mid 1970's, and presented a model
of a flying aircraft in real-time on a computer screen as his thesis "A versatile computer-generated dynamic flight
display". Thus, the first flight simulator was born.
Microsoft obtained a license for Artwick's Flight Simulator, and the series would go on to become one of computer
gaming's longest-running franchises.
Each subsequent version of Microsoft Flight Simulator features improved graphics and on-screen representation, but
each version has greatly simulated the flight of flying various aircraft.
The original commercial Flight Simulator for Apple-II. The fourth version allowed users to create Microsoft Flight Simulator X.
custom aircraft and scenery.
• Persuasive Games - used to show a specific point of view, whether it be related to military, social,
diplomatic, or religious matters.
• A site with plenty of games under this subset of serious games, but created by a developer called
‘Persuasion Games’. Here are some examples:
“Fatworld is a game about the “Airport Insecurity - a game about “Windfall - A strategy game about
politics of nutrition. It explores the inconvenience and the tradeoffs building wind farms to create clean
relationships between obesity, between security and rights in American energy profitably. “
nutrition, and socioeconomics in airports. While the government wants
the contemporary U.S.” you to believe that increased protection
and reduced rights are necessary to
protect you from terrorism, the
effectiveness of airport security practices
* Military flight training involves the use of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
* Full Spectrum Warrior - how it helps American war veterans cope with
past psychological trauma.
* Are Surgeons using Video Games to Train?
Military Aviators Practice using Microsoft Flight Simulator
Pilot training students which used Microsoft Flight Simulator scored higher than their peers who had never
played the game. Specifically, a Navy pilot trainee excelled to such an extent that the Navy included the
Flight Simulator program into the syllabus, encouraging trainees to use it for practice and training.
In January 2000 the Navy issued a modified version of Microsoft Flight Simulator to all student pilots and
undergraduates enrolled in 65 colleges under Naval Reserve Officer Training Courses. This is because
trainees are allowed to learn and practice the basics - like cockpit control manipulation and navigation
without having to be physically present in an expensive aircraft.
The above advantage is paired with the fact that Microsoft Flight Simulator costs dramatically less than the
multi-million dollar flight simulation systems purchased by armed forces in the past. However, Microsoft
Flight Simulator can only go so far, as Bill Lewandowski, the manager of the training systems division of
Flight Safety International states. Lewandowski acknowledges that Microsoft’s FS enhances the ground
school experience, but the full range of aircraft motion present in multi-million dollar flight simulators
cannot be replicated in the microsimulations like Microsoft FS.
Full Spectrum Warrior
In 2005, the American military funded the research and development of a game designed to help teach officers how to
coordinate multiple teams of soldiers in modern urban warfare environments. The commercial versions of the game
released for the original Xbox, Playstation 2, and PC were commercial and critical successes. The miltary version was
available as well, but had to be specially accessed via an unlock code.
Full Spectrum Warrior has also been converted into “Virtual Iraq” and is funded by the Office of Naval Research. It is
monitored and controlled by a clinician to help soldiers and marines relive past traumatic combat incidents and come to
terms with them. U.S. Navy Cmdr. Scott L. Johnston, Ph.D., director of clinical research for mental health at the Naval
Medical Center San Diego believes that virtual reality is useful for curing or helping soldiers cope with post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD.)
Are Surgeons Using Video Games to Train?
In a study featured in Science Daily, surgeons who played video games were
more proficient at performing laparoscopic surgery than their peers who did
not play video games at all. The participants of the study first played three
non-medical video games (including Super Monkey Ball) for about 25
minutes. This playtime was followed by a range of laparoscopic surgery
techniques. Accuracy and completion time were recorded by researches.
The surgeons who had a history of playing video games for more than three
hours a week made 37% fewer mistakes and completed tasks 27% faster
than the surgeons who had no history of playing video games.
The surgeons who were still playing video games (for any amount of time
per week) at the time of the study made 32 percent fewer mistakes and
completed tasks 24% faster than their never-playing colleagues.
The surgeons who scored in the top third of the video-game portion of the
study made 47% fewer errors and completed tasks 39% faster than those
who scored in the bottom third.
Laparoscopic surgeons use robotic controls to move the instruments
inserted into the patient. Their eyes are ever on a video screen, away from
their hands as they remotely guide the medical instruments inside the
*Laparoscopic surgery is a surgical technique in which short, narrow tubes
(trochars) are inserted into the abdomen through tiny incisions. Long narrow
instruments are then inserted into these trochars to manipulate, cut, and sew
tissue. Patients recover more quickly from such surgery than normal
procedures in which much larger incisions are made. Post-surgical pain is