Exploring Relevance, Meaningfulness, and Perceived Learning in Entertainment Games

Sharma Rhea Melcer Edward Kao Dominic
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

The premise that “good” games embody sound pedagogy in their designs, even if incorporation was not deliberate, suggests that commercial entertainment games may also hold surprising educational potential. However, there is limited research exploring the potential learning experiences that entertainment games can provide, as well as how such unintended experiences could influence players’ everyday lives. In this paper, we present an exploratory study surveying thirteen university students to understand their perceived learning experiences from entertainment games, how they applied these experiences to their lives, and why they believed the experiences were personally impactful. We found that participants believed they learned (1) practical skills of collaboration and planning, and (2) a wide range of everyday knowledge and educational content. Additionally, we found all reported experiences were relevant and meaningful to players’ lives outside of the game. Lastly, we utilize findings to inform the design of games beyond entertainment, identifying potential areas for improved educational game design.


Endogen: Framework for Designing Endogenous Educational Games

Athavale Sandeep Dalvi Girish
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Cohesion between content and gameplay can lead to games that are educational and enjoyable at the same time, making them effective. Endogenous designs, wherein the game elements emerge from the content, lead to such cohesion. However, endogenous design is not commonly observed in practice. Lack of guidance on conceptualizing endogenous design is an important factor hampering production of effective educational games. In this paper, we present ‘Endogen’ framework for designing endogenous educational games. The framework synthesized using the ‘function-behavior-structure’ approach is composed of a set of design strategies that we discovered in our recent work. It is validated using a multi-method approach wherein designers use the framework to design games and then rate it on various parameters. Results indicate that Endogen achieves the stated objective of creating endogenous design, therefore offering exciting content integration possibilities for game designers.


MeWare for Sale: Developer’s Approaches to Serious Mobile Music Games

Pierce Charlotte Woodward Clinton J. Bartel Anthony
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Music students face a highly complex task with a significant cognitive load. Serious games are one teaching tool used to manage this complexity, as they have been found to increase student’s engagement and foster self-regulated, independent learning behaviours. In this paper we examine serious music games on the mobile iOS platform. We particularly focus on how developers approach the creation and publication of these games. To this end, we look at the design and development of serious music games, including their development histories, revenue models, user management models, and data management models. We then frame these characteristics in terms of the type of software the games represent, which indicates how and if users were considered during development. Our findings provide valuable insight into the field of serious music games, in understanding how the current state of the field came to be and how it might evolve in the future.


There’s an App For That?: Are Mobile Music Games Serious Educational Tools

Pierce Charlotte Woodward Clinton J. Bartel Anthony
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Music students face a significant cognitive load, which often causes them to abandon musical studies. Serious games offer a solution to this problem: present educational content in a fun package to increase student engagement and foster self-regulated, independent learning. In this paper we examine serious music games, specifically on the iOS platform. We address three questions: whether these games exhibit the benefits that serious games are considered to have; whether they provide educational value; and whether they offer any improvement over traditional teaching tools. We found that although they can offer the benefit of immediate, automated feedback, the currently available games cover only a small amount of musical knowledge. They also tend to support rote-learning style tasks, resulting in low-level learning outcomes, and do not tailor content to players. Despite these drawbacks the games offer some educational value. However, there is significant scope for continued development in the future.


Designing Games as Playable Concepts: Five Design Values for Tiny Embedded Educational Games

Kultima Annakaisa Lassheikki Christina Park Solip Kauppinen Tomi
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Digital games transform our lives; they provide an opportunity to engage with other worlds in a playful way, in many ways similarly to what other forms of audio-visual communica- tion (like movies, paintings or photos) have offered for a longer time. However, learning materials still use rather traditional ways for accompanying media, ranging from static fig- ures and graphs to videos and animations. In this paper, we explore the notion of Playable Concepts: tiny games that are embedded as part of educational material instead of separate and standalone products. We argue that games could be in a similar role as static graphi- cal elements in educational and communicational material, embedded in the text, together with other media formats. We suggest that the design space of Playable Concepts can be framed with five distinct design values: Value of Partiality, Value of Embeddedness, Value of Simplicity and Immediacy, and Value of Reusability.


Cryptomarkets Gamified: What Can We Learn by Playing CryptoKitties?

Serada Alesja
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

This paper presents an analysis of CryptoKitties (Axiom Zen 2017) as an educational tool for blockchain adoption. The focus is placed on the official agenda of the game, presented in its white paper (“White Pa-Purr”) and the user guide. I compare statements of the game's developers to the actual practice of playing CryptoKitties for a year. Although gamification of blockchain technologies for new and upcoming bitcoin games may have been successful on a broader level of service marketing, the game itself does not make cryptocurrency-based services more accessible to the audience previously unfamiliar with blockchain. However, I conclude that it can launch a longer independent exploration of crypto markets, a potentially transformative experience for the player.