Different Types of Serious Games

Designing Digitally


Different Types of Serious Games

Serious games are utilized for purposes other than entertainment. They are used to impart learning or help practice a skill. Sectors including defense, science, health, and education are using serious games to meet their set learning objectives. 

Often, you see people confusing gamification with serious games. They are not the same thing and should not be used interchangeably. In a serious game, the content is designed as a game that is intended for a purpose other than fun. They are perfect for positive reinforcement, increasing learner motivation, creating friendly workplace competition, and on-demand learning. Gamification, on the other hand, is applying game-like elements like badges, leaderboards, and point systems to increase engagement and effectiveness. These elements keep the learners hooked and go a long way in enhancing knowledge retention. 

According to a report by Marketandmarkets, the serious games industry was predicted to grow at an average yearly rate of 16.38% between 2015 and 2020. Serious games can be a lot of fun when you align them with your learning needs. They help your employees remain engaged and understand the content better. For example, you can use a role-playing game to teach your sales team better negotiation skills. Or you can use a game to help nurses diagnose each patient and take appropriate measures based on their condition.

Serious games can be used in several ways. The first category is education. Teaching through games is usually easier than teaching through traditional methods. Serious games are great for all kinds of topics. When your learners are having fun learning new things, they will surely retain it for a long time. The second category is persuasion. It is easier to guide learners towards finding a solution with the help of games. And, the third one is games for healing. Yes, serious games can help people heal. In fact, that is why it is more important to make the games accessible to persons with disabilities. Games encourage people to tackle difficult challenges with optimism and determination. It helps build mental and emotional resilience in users that influence post-trauma healing. 

Considering everything mentioned previously, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Dutch mental health care organizations are increasingly incorporating serious games in blended care therapy. More and more therapists combine neurocognitive training with gaming elements aimed at children with poor executive functions, as is the case with ADHD, autism, and psychosis. Games are fun, ensuring that children are highly motivated to play such games. For example, Coöperatie eLab Autisme developed a game called ‘KickAss’, which allows young people with autism to learn how to deal with difficult social situations that are often faced in everyday life. KickAss helps the learners to understand their responses as challenges arise and offer them alternative behaviors they can practice in reality.

Characteristics of serious games

There are several types of serious games, but all of them have some common features. 

Serious games are pretty structured. They may change the rules but do not eliminate them altogether. Most of the games do not declare winners. Instead, they declare results. It provides a score that will tell you how well a learner is equipped to apply his or her knowledge to resolve an issue. These games have a time limit. Usually, users can achieve the required result in a few minutes or hours.

Types of serious games

Broadly, there are two types of serious games – process-oriented and outcome-focused.

Process-oriented games have different structures because they address different processes. 

  • Discovery games help learners discover new awareness. For example, a product box exercise provides insight into the core values of a product of service. You may want to use this type of game for market research, uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of a particular team, or discovering the core value of a product.  
  • Decision-making games are known to replace the traditional decision-making process. You can use them for prioritizing projects, generating a wide array of ideas for the team to choose from, and similar functions.
  • Simulations recreate the real-world in the virtual space. Free-form simulations allow learners to improvise – like role-play exercises. Algorithmic ones have stricter rules and calculated outcomes. Simulations allow the learners a safe pad to hone their skills. 

Outcome-focused games train people in essential skills. These can be algorithmic or free-form, similar to simulations. These types of games can also be used to change the perception and attitudes of consumers.

At Designing Digitally, Inc. we develop engaging, entertaining, and educational custom game-based learning experiences for our clients. With over a decade of developing award-winning serious games for the largest brands in the world, we have the experience and aptitude to develop your custom game-based learning experience.

If you are interested in discussing custom Serious Games for your organization, contact our team of experts today!