What are applied games?

Our department have started work on a new exciting new project called RAGE, which stands for Realising an Applied Gaming Ecosystem. When I tell anybody I’m working on this they kind of get this idea that it is a project about gaming, but they are not really sure what ‘applied gaming’ is, to be honest, before I started the project I didn’t have an idea either. Before starting the project I would have said that applied gaming was a modern word for ‘serious games’, but I have since changed my game, perhaps a game doesn’t have to be designed with serious intent to be educational, Minecraft seems to be used in many educational settings successfully.

At the kick off meeting for the project we asked 28 people (28 people working on the project)  what they thought applied gaming was and funnily enough we got 28 very different answers. We asked them what industry they worked in and to explain the term ‘allied games’ in one sentence. I haven’t really got my head around it yet, but it seems that many people also have a link between serious games and applied games in their minds. Here are the answers:

Sector

Answer

Education

Games that deliver a learning result in a pedagogical content

Real games used by many end users

Games that use leisure principles to achieve an education or black hat marketing purpose.

Games played for a specific purpose (e.g. education, training) Rather than leisure – this doesn’t mean that leisure games don’t educate or
train

A game going beyond the simple leisure

Learn with fun

Games with a design purpose other than fun for the player

To support training

Train/educate users

Games to learn in a pleasant way all kinds of skills

Games with learning as its primary purpose.

Games crediting a given domain which is subject of learning

Games for non-entertainment purposes

Applied games are games with education-first design approach but entertainment

Games for learning

Games that are useful for something

Games through which you gain knowledge and/or skills

Industry (Game)

I didn’t know those words before coming in Heerlen… Stupid, I’ve been in this business for 28 years.

Application of gaming technology or methods in areas outside pure entertainment.

Games applied to real word activities to provide an educational means

A game designed for a specific purpose beyond the game experience itself

I know games, but applied games have no sense for me.

Industry (Other)

Serious games

Games used for serious objectives and not just for leisure

Games with focused contents and methodologies aimed at specific purposes

Games for non-leisure purposes

Government / Agency

Games used in life situations, using artificial intelligence and often components’ to better societies needs.

Research Institute

Games which support achieving goals outside of the game itself