Course note: “(Chee Siang, A. et al, 2008) have identified three main categories of computer games based on contemporary learning theories – behaviourism, cognitive constructivist and social constructivist learning. In their classification they take into account narrative, rules and interactions through play. The typology of game research has emerged in three areas – gameplay, game rules (structure) and game world (Aarseth, 2001).”

Reflecting on the BBC Micro- Doctor Who: The First Adventure the characteristics of this early game that remain relevant are: use of colour, sound/music; different levels or episodes to play through; time limit; rules e.g maximum ‘regenerations’ allowed; goals to achieve e.g. 3 segments of the key to time.

As far as ‘adventure game’ characteristics that might be used in the classroom: puzzle solving and storytelling. It would appear that adventure games are making a comeback too.

Course note: “Social constructivism features   are exemplified by a narrative where many possible stories are possible, depending on the social interactions of two or more players. Rules require that people interact and actively negotiate to create their own understanding of the rules. Here, the player clarifies the understanding of the game through player-player interactions. Hence, play is about socially constructing a new strategy to solve a problem by interacting with people and the game world.”

“The challenge of games is often how to read games and the rules required to play them.”

Three instructions that I think are key to game based learning:

  1. jump in and play (exploration)
  2. work out the rules
  3. fail, reflect, play and connect

Interestingly, the above three connect with course notes: activation, reflection and exploration toward a problem which ties in with connected, participatory learning environments. Need to consider what type of problem you want your students to solve. Need also to be aware of games that are little more than advertising and marketing.

A Topographical Study of Persuasive Play in Computer Games Presentation 2012:

  • study of games as artifacts (77)
  • persuasive games: consumer action, social action, educational understanding or complimentary approaches (ibid)
  • design
  • instructions – ease of understanding instructions also used to understand  relative complexity of a game (79)
  • image representations: natural, abstracted, geometric; perspective – 2D, 3D
  • sound representations – general sound timbre (bright, neutral, dark) and overall music rhythm (fast, moderate, slow) (80)
  • play experience – preference to play online rather than download; common complaints – poorly play balanced e.g. “to easy” or “too difficult to play” – hints at fundamental concept of flow – enjoyable play balanced challenge with skill level, avoiding anxiety and preventing boredom; consideration of  ‘offensive’ games – anything to which a person or group of persons might take offense, including put downs, stereotypes, or demeaning caricature. 31% of games content such offensive content. (ibid)
    • high number of games requiring both Adobe Flash and a computer keyboard concerning. As use of tablets and web-enabled phones increases, these games will become less playable. (81)
  • game design and rule sets: attracting players is strongly effected by the clarity of rule sets and the enjoyability of play (ibid)
  • enjoyability and availability: primary concerns in the enjoyability of play came from play balancing – balanced challenge and ease. Players enjoyed games with natural forms as much as they enjoyed games with abstracted or geometric forms…hints that the quality of the game system is a higher priority than its aesthetic representation. Unsurprisingly,a game that looks good may not play well (ibid)