Understanding games – games that explain how games work.

Pixelate – a 28 y.o Swedish guy has posted a series of 4 really interesting Flash based games on the Kongregate web site that explain the underlying concepts behind games. They are called Understanding Games and are an interesting mixture of multimedia presentation with gameplay aspects that really are well worth checking out.

Some of the core elements covered in the first game are:

  • Rules define the possible actions of the players
  • Rules apply to all players and have to be made clear and intelligible to them
  • Rules are fixed and you cannot change them to your own advantage
  • No game can be played without the interaction of the player
  • The outcome of the game has to be uncertain otherwise it loses it’s appeal
  • The way that game elements are represented (i.e realistic vs abstract) influences the way we think they should act
  • A more realistic looking game (e.g Rockstar Table Tennis vs Pong) should allow for more realistic play

The main points of the game are summarised at the end and are all well worth considering when thinking about using games.

This entry was posted in education, elearning, game design and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Understanding games – games that explain how games work.

  1. Marg says:

    What a nifty site Col! Good find 🙂
    Liked the first/intro game – it almost comes across as a game-based ‘lecture’ in itself – nicely done!
    Looking forward to your games workshop at the PD Day!

  2. Marg says:

    Oh and PS…

    The summary also seems to correlate with what we anticipate of learners and learning. That is:
    * We us rules to help define the learning expectations/outcomes to encoruage action of learners (“players”)
    * Rules apply to all leanres and have to be made clear and intelligible to them (managing learning expectations)
    * Rules maybe fixed and you may or may not change them to your own advantage, depending on the learning event/activity/outcome
    * No learning can occur without the interaction of the learner!
    * The outcome/s of the learning often can be uncertain, and that adds to its appeal (including informal learning and transformative experiences, etc)
    * The way that learning elements are represented (i.e realistic vs abstract) influences the way we indeed learn, think, act, etc – which is where educational design comes in…
    * More realistic (looking?) learning (e.g workplace learning, projects, self-testing and reflection) should allow for more realistic development of the person in a holistic sense…

    What do you think? 😉

  3. colinsimpson says:

    Very true Marg – there are a lot of parallels between the gaming paradigm and the learning one.

    I like the way that you twisted the “Rules are fixed…” element – the former does seem to sit more with the teacher-centred approach and the possibilities that arise when the learners are potentially able to “hack” the learning experience in some way or another by bending the rules are very interesting.

    I’ll summarise the rest of the elements from the rest of the games soon – and I highly recommend checking them out in full.

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