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


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.