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Alchemy Vs Chemistry: The Emperor's New Serious Game (Pecha Kucha)
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Alchemy Vs Chemistry: The Emperor's New Serious Game (Pecha Kucha)


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From my 6 minute IGDA Scotland talk. …

From my 6 minute IGDA Scotland talk.

Basic idea is too much (serious) game design is reinventing the wheel, based on rumour, speculation and it isn't good enough.

We need to be evidence based. We need to share practice and we need design technique support to leave the alchemic approaches behind and become more dependable as designers.

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  • Alchemy was what we had before we had chemistry. Before we had the scientific method.It was an early way learned gentlemen had of understanding the world and the property of materials around them.Alchemy was fuelled by rumour and word of mouth and had lofty goals.This is the philosopher’s stone.
  • It was largely believed that it could turn base metals like lead into more valuable ones like gold. But alchemists didn’t just pursue material gains. They believed they could unlock the mysteries of life itself.Indeed, it was a common pursuit to chase immortality. To aim for
  • To aim for a healing factor… if you will.But how did alchemists go about this? Alchemists believed that each metal had certain properties. And some thought that if you eat or drank a metal, that you would benefit from these properties.For example, it was thought that Gold was the most pure metal, but it was too expensive to easily consume.
  • Sun Simiao for example was one of most influential Chinese alchemists. The Chinese view from the 2nd to 4th century was that Mercury may be the elixer of life and so it was that many alchemists and their followers would drink mercury and as we all know from primary school thermometers. Mercury is poisonous.
  • And many people died.We are here to talk about games. And not mercury poisoning.But I worry that we approach some aspects of games too much like alchemy and not enough like chemistry.
  • I think that, in general across all aspects of game design. But I want to focus a little here, today, on Serious Games. If you are trying to achieve some important goal like education or attitude change. I think it is irresponsible to do so while relying on instinct.
  • Back in the 80’s we had edutainment. They used simple ‘drill and skill’ approaches to make mundane memory based learning actions a bit less tiresome.
  • What I think happens is that some educational game project gets greenlit.And a random designer is told to design it. If you are LUCKY you get a teacher.But it’s WAY difficult.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Alchemy Vs Chemistry David Farrell Glasgow Caledonian University The Emperor’s New Game
    • 2. Slide 1
    • 3. Slide 4
    • 4. Slide 5
    • 5. Slide 3
    • 6. Slide 6
    • 7. Slide 7
    • 8. Slide 10
    • 9. Games Based Learning
    • 10. Slide 8
    • 11. the evidence is lacking Aroutis N. Foster Punya Mishra Foster, A. N., & Mishra, P. (2009). Games, Claims, Genres, and Learning. Handbook of Research on effective electronic gaming in education, 33–50.
    • 12. Learning Educational Game Design
    • 13. What does the player know? What are they understanding from my game? How do people learn? Does the player know this applies in real world? How are my cognitive biases influencing design? What is a Bloom hierarchy? Is it too ‘learny’? Is it too ‘gamey’? How can I adapt to different learner abilities?
    • 14. Slide 14
    • 15. Slide 15
    • 16. Slide 16
    • 17. Slide 17
    • 18. @unthank