Serious gaming (Oxford, July 2014)
Special session about serious gaming during the 6th Global Conference: Video Games Culture Project, from Thursday, 17th July to Saturday, 19th July 2014, Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Key words: serious games, serious gaming, education, projects with students, level design, case studies
SimCity in geography lessons, Civilisation V for non-violence education, Read Dead Redemption as a means of addressing the history of the Far West… These practices are involved in "Serious gaming": they all subvert the playful nature of an existing game in order to associate it with uses distinct from mere entertainment as originally planned.
Serious Gaming differs from Serious games. Indeed, in order to consider oneself faced with a Serious game, aside from the presence of utilitarian functions (disseminating a message, providing training, allowing for the collection of data), the game produced must also be aimed, from its conception, at a market other than mere entertainment: defence, health, communication, training, environmentalism, etc.) Thus, a Serious game can aim to heighten a diabetic player's awareness of therapeutic education (Out of Time), teach college students about the laws of physics (Ludwig), present political (September the 12th), ecological (ClimWay) or indeed geopolitical (Darfur is Dying) issues to the general public, etc.
In a time when the economical situation is unfavourable and most educational institutions are suffering from a lack of resources, it would seem appropriate to assess the potential of Serious Gaming in the educational environment.
The panel will be structured around the two following points:
1. Commercial games used for the purpose of Serious gaming
As educational research is increasingly highlighting a new "attentional economy" (De Castell, Jenson 2006) and a redistribution of roles within learning, an examination of existing practices in Serious gaming would appear necessary, in order to identify their gameplay, the ways in which existing games can be appropriated and their educational potential.
A call for papers is published, in order to bring together both developers and users of games adapted to Serious gaming, as well as researchers from various backgrounds interested in the topic (computer science, "ludology", cognitive sciences, education, semiotics, sociology, etc.).
2. Experiments in level design for Serious gaming purposes
Level design consists of offering the user himself the opportunity to build a level of the game using software tools, with the intention of using the game to associate him with its utilitarian functions (disseminating a message, providing training, etc.).
For example, in the first half of 2013 we carried out an experiment with the Non-Violence XXI association as well as second year Game Design students from the school for the creation of video games - Supinfogame Rubika games. As a point of departure, we asked how we could make videogame users aware of a message of non violence. The main idea was to adapt commercial videogames, using violence to speak out against it more effectively. The students adapted three commercial videogame titles in this way.
This experiment illustrated the idea that commercial videogames can indeed convey utilitarian functions, as claimed by Olivier Mauco (Mauco, quoted in Alvarez & Djaouti, 2010) in particular.
INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN YOUR PROPOSAL:
• A 250 to 500-word abstract of your paper.
• Your name, job title and institution as well as your contact information, including e-mail address.
A selection of the received papers will be reviewed and subsequently published.
For more information on the main conference visit http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/critical-issues/cyber/videogame-cultur...