Creating Evaluation Profiles for Games Designed to be Fun: An Interpretive Framework for Serious Game Mechanics

Frank Ulrich, Niels Henrik Helms

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    Background. Games can be great pedagogical tools for educators and students. COTS games (commercialoff-the-shelf) are designed for the pure purpose of leisure but can also contain educational value. Aim. In this paper, we address the potential of COTS games as serious games. We develop an interpretive evaluation framework that can identify the educational value in COTS games.
    Application. The presented framework can create evaluative profiles of the learning, social, game, and immersive mechanics of COTS games as educational tools. Moreover, the framework can position COTS games between four intertwined dimensions, namely pedagogical, design, knowledge, and sociotechnical considerations. Demonstration. To validate the practical application of the interpretive framework, we apply it to a real-world example. Our demonstration reveals the usefulness of the framework. Conclusions. The framework enables critical reflection on the game mechanics; thereby capturing the complexity of the game mechanics that makes COTS game both educational and fun to play.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSimulation & Gaming
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)695-714
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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