Serious Games!

Question: What serious games exist for people ages 13+ and what can we learn by playing these games?

One of the genres that has epically emerged as of late is “apocalypse.”  Most deal with zombies, but the idea of the world as we know it being completely devoid of our everyday comforts is purposefully being brought to mind.  Why?  Perhaps, as American’s, we realize that we have things pretty good, and nothing last forever.  Or perhaps, some have realized that we are no where near prepared for such a disaster; therefore, it’s prudent to make entertainment to give ourselves food for thought.

I consider myself a gamer, but I admit that I haven’t delved into “serious games.”  I LOVE this concept!  We can talk with students within the classroom all we like.  But the ideas discussed are fleeting within a limited setting.  Serious games bring the students into an environment where they “live” it out, so to speak.  I checked out “A World Without Oil” and loved their logo: “Play it– before you live it.”

I think we need lots more of this.  I remember when one of the first simulation games was Windows flight instructor (I was terrible) and endless racing games.  These new serious games deal with real issues, which may potentially inspire innovation to make a difference.  The role playing video games that I play, are not necessarily for ages 13+.  The graphics are for mature audiences, as is some of the language and content.  However, video games as of late not only bring the player along for the adventure, but has them make intriguing choices.  Bioware is especially notorious for this in their games Dragon Age, Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect.  Will you choose to sacrifice yourself for your loved ones, or will you sacrifice them for your own well-being?  Will you punch that jerk in the face, or will you leave him be?  Each choice has a consequence that is not always immediate.  Giving these students realistic choices to make in a safe and secure environment is very thought provoking.

I am looking forward to diving more thoroughly into these serious games and helping to administer this “Hunger Games” experiment.  (And just so we know, I hate the idea of being a Gamemaker, but only in the context of the book!  Can I consider myself a secret rebel good guy?)

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