Leveling Up Serious Games?
Taking a page from leading game developers’ books
Nowadays, it would be foolish for us to refrain from taking advantage of the gaming industry as a potential platform for learning, and while serious games are constantly being developed, their use in schools and other institutions is still at a quite limited scope. So what exactly do serious game researchers and developers need to do for their games to reach the same level of popularity as mainstream games?
When speaking of the most successful games, it’s impossible to not look into the generations of consoles that have been released into the market. For the past few decades, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have engaged in something of a console war, releasing thousands of successful games that have been lapped up by the public. If you’ve been tuning in to console news, however, you’ll notice that Nintendo is quickly falling behind in the race.
This is mainly due to the fact that their recent consoles, the Wii and the Wii-U, have a limited number of games available on them. Yes, Nintendo is one of the most advanced companies, offering motion gaming before any of the other developers, but the company also has a strict policy against third-party titles. A huge part of the reason the Wii failed lies in the small selection of games that can be played on the console.
The ability to provide players with an extensive collection of games is something that’s valued by game developers of all platforms. Dragonfish Games, an independent B2B gaming services provider that supplies casino games to entertainment site Total Gold, is one of the leading strategic partners of online gaming companies for its ability to grant its clients with a huge array of successful titles created by expert developers. On the console side, Forbes notes that Sony remains the console of choice for gamers, if only for the huge selection of games available for the console.
Serious game developers must work not just to create more new games, but different kinds of genres. Aside from the games being used in schools, effort must be put into creating games that can be played by just about anyone, at any point. This also entails investing in the development of mobile games.
The Institute of Education and Psychology in the University of Minho is looking into the possibility of using mobile gaming and the multi-touch interface of tablets and smart phones to combat digital divide in Portugal. Pysop, an Emmy-award winning developer, has also looked into the possibility of creating serious games on a mobile platform. Commissioned by the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), Pysop created Nightmare: Malaria, a game that drops players into the bloodstream of a young girl infected with malaria, showing how the virus affects the body at different stages, and tasking players with saving the girl’s life. It’s an educational game that is the first of its kind on mobile devices, but while the game has received generally positi
ve reviews, some players still question its lack of entertainment value.
?Serious games may not be part of the world’s collective consciousness just yet, but with hard work from developers who seek to reach more people by creating a diverse collection of games, that is sure to change soon. In a few years time, we might just be able to game our way into a better world, with Sony’s PS4 leading the way.