Serious Games on the Rise “Across the Board”

Designing Digitally


You’ll have to forgive us for the pun in the headline of this post, but it’s an exciting time in the world of serious games and we love to see eLearning going global, or at least going commercial, per se. Playing games as a learning/training tool is becoming a big trend today in education & training and particularly in hands-on education – the kind of activity that many corporate trainers and HR pros find themselves relying on more and more to level their playing fields (another pun!) when it comes to consistency and time management.

With game-based training and serious games, students and workers of all types can learn and practice valuable skills and they can do it in a non-threatening environment where they get the opportunity to DO something, not just take notes. The playful, self-competitive aspect of gaming engages them while at the same time helps to reinforce lessons and protocols they’ll need in real-word scenarios on-the-job. This type of serious games offers safe practice time for job skills and also enables the trainer to accurately asses how far along the “student” has come in skills development.

This is of course not the only form a serious game can take. Some serious games are being used for marketing and promotions, while others are being used for more entertaining, “playful” purposes. Below, we present several serious games we’ve come upon lately in the marketplace that really illustrate how diverse serious games can be.

  • The Lost Bee is a fun kids’ eBook application, story book and science class all in one that helps teach about honey bees with games that replicate the jobs that honey bees do. Environmental messages in the book about pesticide use and pollinator-friendly farming methods are also included. Sweet!
  • Eye Shakespeare is a downloadable app that helps visitors to the classic Bard’s home in Stratford-Upon-Avon have a more enjoyable tour of Shakespeare’s homes and grounds, and even works in seven different languages. Verily!
  • Fashion Eye is a social game app where players pick a style theme and then receive questions about the best fashion choices regarding that style. Real designers can advertise their merchandise on the app as a way of informing style-conscience consumers about their products. Fabulous!
  • Bounce Back is a physical, actual card game (remember those?) developed by Psychology Today that we predict will make it to the Internet or become a digital app eventually. In this game, players must address real-word scenarios that cause stress and anxiety and come up with solutions for each scenario. Scoring is determined by the number of skills & attitudes based upon resilience that players use to solve the problems. No counseling couch needed!
  • A patient management, 3D simulation game for surgeons is helping to hone diagnostic and management skills for surgical residents using Second Life™. By managing virtual patients, fledgling surgeons get the opportunity to learn to improve surgical outcomes for their patients by dealing with the whole patient, not just their physical surgery. Talk about improved bedside manner!

Though none of the examples of serious games above tackle the corporate, military and industrial clients Designing Digitally, Inc. normally caters to, they’re all examples of imaginative programming and design, and we salute their ingenuity. We’re always ready to think outside of the box for such games for our clients too, should you have such a need.