Serious games are often misunderstood. Because they are associated with high levels of leadership, upper management, the military and government operations, they do have a certain mystique. Do you wonder what all the mystery and hype is about? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions concerning them.
1) What’s a serious game?
Answer: They are designed to educate, inform, and test. They are, in the broadest sense, still video games, but they have a specific application and limited use in the medical field, in the business operations world, and (most famously) in government-sponsored training for the armed forces. They are designed to be somewhat “fun” and engaging, but most people wouldn’t want to sit around playing, for example, military-designed simulation, unless they are paid to do it. Governmental and business sectors as well as contest-seekers also play these cognitive functioning boosters, like War Chess.
2) Can serious games help the majority of everyday people improving focus and problem solving skills during difficult, intense situations?
Answer: Yes. They are designed to strengthen skills and strategy. They aren’t about chance or luck (like gambling or bingo); luck and chance oppose the serious.
3) Are serious games just for the super smart type?
Answer: No. If your work requires you to train using them, you don’t have to worry if you aren’t an Einstein. They do require a certain level of concentration, however. They are very demanding. So, if you have a tough time focusing you might want to make sure you get enough sleep the night before you are going to be training with them.
4) What are some uses of serious games in the private (non-government) sector?
Answer: There are a lot of these for educational use, from elementary age school up to graduate training. They are used for personal training, for healing, health, and fitness. Some are industry specific, such as for city planning, emergency management, politics, and scientific exploration.
5) Where can I go to find some serious games to try?
Answer: SuperSmartGames is a website full of them for adults, kids, and teens. Some are on history, math, science, and fitness training. Another website, SocialImpactGames, offers a large variety for business, advertising, military, public policy, wellness, and other subjects of learning.
5) What’s the difference between serious and persuasive games?
Answer: They are essentially the same thing.
6) What’s the difference between serious and educational games?
Answer: There are a lot of great educational products out there that do sometimes cross into the serious category. To be considered a serious game, the primary use of the game is educational and not entertainment.