What are your favorite serious games?

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Evonne Heyning

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Jun 22, 2010, 8:27:16 PM6/22/10
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Susan Tenby and I have been sitting here @techsoup talking about what serious games/games for change we think WORK well and are FUN to play.

What are your top five?  Can you think of 3-5 games that score highly with you in terms of 1) real world impact 2) educational value 3) enjoyable engagement or 4) social opportunities to connect with new ideas?

I am having a hard time coming up with my top five but here are a few that I have enjoyed over the years:

* Global Lives (PC gaming)
* SimCity
* Foursquare + customized badges/incentives/messages to friends
* Melting Point -- created by Kent Quirk (Q Linden in Second Life) to share climate change complexity, this game is HARD and being developed now for iPad

Here are the games I would like to see add real world impact/social engagement with purpose:
* Zynga across the board -- what if CafeWorld gave recipes and nutritional information?  What if Farmville actually taught economics?
* Plants vs. Zombies -- PopCap created a fun, addictive game that could easily teach botany
* SkyRacer and other flight simulators -- what if your missions involved aid drops, crisis care?  Would people want to play a crisis management game?

......................................................
   ~Evonne Heyning~
CCO: Interactive Producer for Social Games
evo...@gmail.com   @amoration
310.953.1087 or skype:amoration
www.visualcv.com/amoration
Love = Energy
..........................................

Jeremy Pesner

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Jun 25, 2010, 2:25:30 PM6/25/10
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Each of these games have some combination of learning and fun, in my
opinion anyway.

Do I Have a Right? - http://www.ourcourts.org/play-games/do-i-have-a-right

VVVVVV - http://www.kongregate.com/games/TerryCavanagh/vvvvvv-demo

The Incredible Machine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl7hT2GiO5E)
will always have a place in my heart. In many ways, I'd argue it's
the predecessor for the "systems thinking" prized by Alan
Gershenfeld's Gamestar Mechanic.

I just discovered this game Lightbot 2.0 (http://armorgames.com/play/
6061/light-bot-20). I only played a few levels but I think it's a
fantastic, rudimentary Computer Science Teaching tool. Concepts like
functions, recursion, and conditional logic are all presented in a
straightforward, easy manner.

I'm sure there are more, but I'll start with those.

Sandra Andrews

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Jun 25, 2010, 8:53:32 PM6/25/10
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Sim City
Sims/Sims II (and associated add-ons)
Academagia (the game my son is developing)
Our Courts
ICED

I haven't played a lot of games. But I had children..they all liked Sim City. The girls played Sims (and found the cheats.)

My son liked D&D and similar games and when I didn't want to play, he sought out new ones that he thought I might like - and spent his allowance on them. But I'd be all about making a peaceful society so he'd consign me to sitting on top of a mountain til I got tired of it. I was just not into the battles at all. Today, he and his wife have a houseful of games of all kinds..he made a board game just for her one Valentine's..he is now writing a computer based game for middle school kids...more about that later.

As soon as all my children could read, I went back to grad school in ed tech. I did tech support for faculty at ASU, and learned that Sim City is actually used in courses. I'd have to set it up for them each semester.

Then I took a graduate course from Betty Hayes, Jim Gee's wife (he did a guest presentation) on games in education. Each week we looked at games, and each of us had to present on a game that we played for at least 150 hours. I did Sims II, mostly because I was also volunteering in a program for girls that used Sims II. (In the previous year they'd used Alice, at my suggestion).

I worked on the Sandra Day O'Connor project (Our Courts) for quite some time, attended Games4Change 2 years ago as a result, and think that games have SO much potential. While we were working on this project, my department invested in a great many games so that we could play them at work..we still have the set-up in the developers' area.

I too think that Zynga games could be VERY educational and presented my thoughts at a conference this year. The audience was K-12 teachers who were worried about gaming and wanted to know what to expect down the line.

Also I have spent the last year working on a collaborative math game with high potential, I hope! We have enough data now to look for funding. btw I learned, from the G4C presentation, that the math game is a "data table based game."

Planning on having more time for this topic in the near future..

One that no one has mentioned yet is ICED, a game on immigration worldwide. I was so tickled to find out about the game at G4C, got two copies and a T-shirt, and came back to tell some kids in Arizona who are affected by these issues. Surprise - they knew all about it - had already downloaded and played it. But they were pleased with the "passport' copy that I brought them, and with the T-shirt.
--
Sandra Sutton Andrews, PhD
Research & Design Director
Director, ARISE (Aligning Resources to Improve Science Education)
alt^I : Applied Learning Technologies Institute
University Technology Office, Arizona State University

http://alti.asu.edu
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