Serious Games

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Serious games are games whose goal can be applied to many other areas and not only in pure entertainment. A lot of industries generally applied serious games into their business plans like education, exam preparation, defense, medical care, engineering, and academic exploration. The term might be not familiar to a stranger because it's not all about pure entertaining video game but more about sending a message like marketing, social and learning message, which has serious outcomes.


Back to the time 1970s, a man named Clark Abbott wrote a book called Serious Games. However, in the 70s people don't pay enough attention to serious games and didn't think about the games like the way people do now. If we explore furtherer, a German named Craig Spell, who was an engineer for war games and created a board game with his colleagues, which was thought to be one of the first instances of a serious game. This board game had units on each side and it was used to train soldiers' strategies of warfare, which taught soldiers how to fight and battle during the war, so it has both military and education purpose in this instance. Let's move up to the time in the 1980s, there were two really popular serious games. One was in San Diego teaching geography and the other was the Oregon Trail, which is about crossing in the United States from one side to the other and people can study history as going through the process. Serious games have been used for a long time and created a profound impact on lots of people and industries.

Serious games that change the world

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Flight Simulators are the foundations of serious games and the Microsoft flight simulator is the most successful commercial flight simulator. It was designed to be a comprehensive simulation of civil aviation and thought to be the next generation of pilots. A lot of flying school use MS flight simulator for extra practice of instrument flight procedures. "As the level of reality of these games increases, it allows for experiencing and practicing a wider scope of real-life situations -- that can complement the regular flight training," says Andersson, a young first officer at SAS. [1] MS flight simulator was born in 1982 and now has updated to its 2020 version, which has hundreds of Gbs content inside.

Tiltfactor Laboratory

Tiltfactor Laboratory is a serious game research center and its motto is "Game Design for Social Change". With learning games like Pox and Awkward Moment, they teach players like the impact of anti-vaccination movements and avoiding social stereotypes. They have developed success on their board games, card games, urban gaming, etc. Their biggest success is about producing games that combat biases and stereotypes against women in STEM; increase systems-level thinking; model effective bystander intervention in cases of sexual assault; facilitate open-source metadata gathering for public institutions; create social networks to encourage altruism and prosocial behavior, and inspire new ways of thinking about health care delivery. [2]

A Force More Powerful

Breakaway Games developed a video game based on a documentary about non-violent resistance, A Force More Powerful, and it's designed to teach nonviolent methods for waging conflict using player-built scenarios.

Darfur is Dying

The game was launched on 2006 and it attracted 800,000 players between five months.[3] In the journalistic spirit of exposing the truth, Darfur is Dying helped to lead light on the war in Darfur and the consequent human disaster. This game impacted the whole gaming industry that made people realize a great amount of information and thoughts can be within a game. Before this, games are simply tools for entertainment purposes and now people review the entire society and history because games gave people the urge to think and reflect.

Application Areas

Health Care

Traditionally, health serious games are used for doctor training of specific operations or knowledge. On the other hand, games can also be tools for a healthier lifestyle and they can be treated as nutrition in a rehabilitation process. Furthermore, doctors can use health games for patients as a training measure and learn more about possible therapy options.


Serious games in the field of security are often aimed at disaster control. Public, private and municipal institutions like a federal agency or national defense department can simulate scenarios such as natural disasters, terrorism, and other emergency events. There are a lot of things to test about, like acting under specific time and pressure to succeed with fewer resources and costs. Though the disaster in a serious game might not be realistic, such training can prepare for better responses of the teams in a real disaster management department and improved their strategies and skills to cooperate with other necessary departments to employ all available resources.


This is applied largely to the education industry. Students are given tasks and challenges that can only be solved by the knowledge they learned in school. This can give students better thinking about how to apply their academic knowledge to solve problems and sometimes are used for testing purposes by teachers.


Companies try to profile the applicants through such serious games comprehensively during the interview. This type of serious game can be designed in a great variety and recruiters can test applicants' response time and skills to solve problems under the pressure. Types of recruitment games can include finding patterns between numbers and pictures, solving math problems in different scenarios and labyrinth problems.

Why do we need Serious Games?

Training and development has been approached in many ways for specific learning objectives. From physical training manuals to training videos and games, every medium has its strengths and weaknesses. Dr. Beck thinks that video games and simulators are especially effective for the learning of certain skills. In the case of children, video games are highly effective for learning basic concepts related to mathematics and grammar. For adults, game-based learning is especially useful when it comes to developing skills requested by the world of business, such as communication, negotiation, leadership, time management skills, and many more. [4] Gaming elements get people involved with the learning which has been shown to improve retention.


The gaming industry has witnessed an unprecedented blossom based on the quick development of different technologies. A serious game designer will tap into the motivations of the user and make them central to the story, utilizing interesting characters and reward levels to keep games intriguing and push users forward.

Safe Environment

Most learners don't have a place they can go and practice their skills in a realistic environment. Serious Games can be the missing link between knowledge and practical application on the job, benefitting the companies greatly by reducing the number of mistakes the staff will make in the real world after a great amount of practice in the game.


Serious Games are designed to be played as many times as people want and allow a learner to explore different paths and different consequences resulting in a well-rounded view of a situation or problem. If we keep tracking the score, people usually can see learners are getting better the more they play.


Serious Games are now a mature industry. Companies who use these approaches are often seen as progressive in terms of their learning and development, which will attract the top talent. These methodologies will also help retain talent by ensuring people in house learning and development is much more enjoyable than other approaches.

Data Capturable

Learners need to make lots of decisions in a game and those decisions are great reflections about learners' thought processes. People can capture the journey to a particular point as well as that final and result. These data are a great amount of information that companies can make use of. For instance, most NBA teams now apply basketball game simulator in their daily training. They monitor players' physical data, shooting data like angles and strength and dribbling data. The coaching staff will analyze these data and let players know their weakness and strength and then work out a better strategy for the team to win a game.


  1. Sillers, Paul. “Can Microsoft Flight Simulator's 2020 Reboot Solve the Pilot Shortage?” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 Oct. 2019,
  2. “Tiltfactor Lab.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Nov. 2019,
  3. “Darfur Is Dying.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Dec. 2019,
  4. “Why Serious Games Are More Effective than Elearning.” Game, 10 July 2017,