Games Multimedia Materials

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Main Menu of Resources for Teaching about Educational Games

Open Source Games

  • Download the Voices of Spoon River game developed by the Instructional Games class at Utah State University, an interactive text adventure that introduces students to the works of a great American poet, while at the same time, provides an opportunity to solve puzzles, talk to ghosts, and engage in a computer-based reading adventure.

Example Learning Games

  • Serious Game Analyses, This is a resource of serious game analyses. The analyses were conducted with the Design, Play, Experience (DPE) Framework.
  • Qtoro: What did you learn today?*, This is an online game that lets users create their own simple trivia questions. Each question lets users provide an explanation and a link to learn more. It's been named one of the top educational games of 2007. Question tagging lets users play specific topics. For more information, or for inquiries on getting a topic-specific widget for your website, school, or museum, you can contact ben [at] qtoro [dot] com.
  • 4 Different Disney Ride Operator Simulators, These are operator simulators of four different Disney rides: Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Phantom Manor. In all of them, you're pretty much trying to get as many people on the ride in as short a time as possible.
  • The Diffusion Simulation Game, The Diffusion Simulation Game was created in the Department of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. The Web version was led by Dr. Ted Frick with designers Barbara Ludwig, K. J. Kim and Rui Huang. The DSG is based on a board game originally developed by Dr. Michael Molenda and Marjorie Cambry. In this simulation you will be playing the role of a change agent in a hypothetical school. Your objective is to persuade as many of the staff members as possible to adopt a particular innovation - peer tutoring. You are a reading specialist who has just been assigned to conduct a federally-funded project at James Whitcomb Riley Junior High School, located in a mixed urban/suburban area of Centralia City. For a free Trial: Username: AECT, Password: Dallas. For a full version, contact
  • The Watershed Game, Water...we all depend on it for survival. But water is a scarce resource—only one percent of all water on earth is freshwater! How can we keep this water pure and fresh? Many things happen in a watershed that affect the quality of the water we rely upon. What are they? Would you make the best decisions in managing your watershed? Examine the issues in each area of the watershed, then see the impacts of your choices!
  • Welcome to Planet Oit: Geology Explorer, Planet Oit is an online computer game in which the students play interplanetary explorers as a means to teach the concepts and principles of physical geology. The students' task is to obtain the appropriate equipment and perform tests on the samples they find before they can report their findings back to Earth. User registration is required but at no cost.
  • Big Al Game: Walking with Dinosaurs, Eat enough to grow from a hatchling to an adult male Allosaurus. There are four levels - hatchling, juvenile, sub-adult, adult - and you reach each level as you gain more weight.
  • Ayiti: The Cost of Life, What is it like to live in poverty, struggling every day to stay healthy, keep out of debt, and get educated? Find out now in this challenging role playing game created by the High School students in Global Kids with the game developers at Gamelab, in which you take responsibility for a family of five in rural Haiti.
  • Peacemaker: A Video Game to Promote Peace, PeaceMaker is a video game simulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a tool that can be used to promote dialog and understanding among Israelis, Palestinians and interested people around the world.
  • Ben's Game; Make-A-Wish Foundation, Throughout Ben Duskin's battle with Leukemia, he played computer games, which helped him get through the treatment process. He also began to think about the need to have something positive that helped other kids battle their illnesses. So when Make-A-Wish approached him to grant his wish, he decided to design a video game that would be helpful for kids like him who have cancer -- a way to fight back and relieve some of the pain and stress involved with treatment.
  • Voyage Beijing, developed by the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University, simulates a first business trip to Beijing, China. As a player, your mission is to travel to Beijing and arrange a business deal with a potential Chinese partner. The primary way to achieve success is to build a good impression with your Chinese hosts. You build or loose impression points by making choices in the interactions you have with the Chinese hosts. On your journey you can also earn knowledge points by exploring the game world, which is based on Beijing.
  • Life Preservers, developed by the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University, is a National Science Foundation funded learning game created to meet educational, game design, and research goals. The game is designed to teach middle and high school science standards on adaptation and evolution, to appeal to girls, and to accommodate competitive and exploration play styles.
  • Fantastic Food Challenge, developed by the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University, contains a series of digital games designed to teach key concepts from basic food-nutrition curricula in a fun, engaging manner, thereby increasing the participants’ interest and motivation in learning.
  • Ink, under development at the Writing Center at Michigan State University, is a multiplayer, online game for writing and community. Ink blends innovative support for teaching writing with compelling, co-creative gameplay.
  • The Many Hats of an Instructional Designer is a free online game developed by Anthony Betrus at the State University of New York at Potsdam. The game serves primarily as an introduction to Instructional Design, although it has been used with advanced students in graduate programs as well. It serves an anchor for extended online discussions among game participants about their prior experiences related to Instructional Design. See for more information about the multiplayer card game (not online) predecessor to this online game, as well as some example anecdotes from online discussions. More information on this game can be found in the 2002 Jan/Feb article in Educational Technology by Betrus and Sugar "The Many Hats of an Instructional Designer: The Development of an Instructional Card Game."
  • Hot Shot Business is an interesting strategy game developed by Disney Online with the Kauffman Foundation that allows kid authentic practice in being an entrepreneur. Kid, parent, and teacher guides are provided.
  • Lemonade Stand is a remake of the classic Apple II learning game. This is a great example of an early learning game.
  • Another classic learning game is Oregon Trail which has been revised several times since the original release in 1985.
  • A nice game developed by Maryland Public TV for teaching Math in K-12: Villainy Inc. - also other games available on the Thinkport site.
  • The Wikipedia entry on Serious Games highlights several other learning game titles.
  • Making History
  • Rome: Total War
  • Digital Zoo Gina Navoa Svarovsky created this "epistemic game." As reported on their website: By participating in the program, students learn about concepts in physics, develop self-confidence and presentation skills, and begin to see the world through the eyes of a problem-solving engineer. Once students play in the Digital Zoo, they won't look at anything that stands or moves the same way again!
  • Urban Science Elizabeth Bagley led the development of this "epistemic game." As reported on their website: In Urban Science, players learn about ecology, develop self-confidence and presentation skills, and start to see the world through the eyes of a problem-solving urban planner. Once players finish Urban Science, they won't look at any street or neighborhood the same way again!
  • CyberCIEGE. The Naval Postgraduate School created this construction and management simulation to enhance cybersecurity education and training. Players purchase and configure computers and network devices to keep demanding users happy (e.g., by providing Internet access) all while protecting assets from a variety of attacks. The game includes a number of different scenarios, some of which focus on basic training and awareness, others on more advanced network security concepts. It is used by agencies of the U.S. government, universities and community colleges. The game is freely available to the U.S. Government and a no-cost license is available for educational institutions. A "Scenario Development Kit" is available for creating and customizing scenarios.

Video Resources

  • Beyond Pong: The Evolution of Video Games is a story about how video games have "come of age" and how some have taken their passion for gaming to the next level. The video is available online and does a great job of giving an overview of the game industry, including a brief discussion of serious games.
  • Why Video Games Are Good For You is an online video of the informal discussion between James Paul Gee and Henry Jenkins at Future Play 2005 at Michigan State University. (NOTE: the link contains a number of other useful online videos on game design, as well.)
  • Modern Marvels: Video Games: Behind the Fun DVD is a purchasable video produced by the History Channel. It's a bit dated in the technology it focuses on, but works well as a slice in time from about 2001.
  • Rise of the Video Game Discovery Channel five part series DVD, 2008.

Audio Resources

  • PC Gamer Magazine's free online weekly podcasts Along with providing up to the date information about PC Games, the tackle industry issues such as sex and violence in games, FCC regulations, and ESRB ratings controversies. A great source for current industry information.
  • NPR's Infinite Mind August 18, 2008 Broadcast: "Taking Games Seriously" From the NPR Inifinite Mind site: "We are joined by Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson, co-founders of the Center for Mental Health and Media in Boston, Dr. David Williamson Shaffer, of University of Wisconsin, who is developing "serious" games that help children learn, and Gina Navoa Svarovsky and Padraig Nash of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with a student who has played the "epistemic" games."

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