Playing the Game of Games

| Michaela Nesvarova

If you walk into the UT´s Classroom of the Future this week, you will probably find people playing all kinds of board games. Make no mistake, though. They are not there to rest. They are actually working on developing their own games as a part of the Serious Gaming track of the CuriousU summer school.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

Even though it might look like it at first, Serious Gaming is not all fun and games. ´It should be fun, but it should be mainly useful and serve a serious learning goal,´ explains Guido Bruinsma, CuriousU lecturer. ´Game development is a journey. It is very difficult and it usually takes at least six months, but these guys are doing it in one week.´

Game for people with kidney failures

The participants of the Serious Gaming track have been divided into two teams. Each team is responsible for developing their own game. One group was assigned to create a game that would help with starting up projects, while the second team is developing a serious game intended for patients with chronic kidney failures. This topic was chosen thanks to Carlijn Vis, UT graduate who is now a PhD candidate at a university in Norway.

´The topic of my PhD research is ´Information mediation for people with chronic kidney failures´ and I think gaming might be a way for patients to acquire information, ´ says Vis. ´I plan to use the game we will develop here and test it as a part of my doctoral work. I was already happy to only learn about gaming, but it is great that they allowed me to put my own idea into practice.´

Game of Games

As a part of working on new original games, the participants are introduced to theory related to game development. They learn about the different ´game ingredients´ that determine how a game is made and what experience it provides. For example, there are several different types of players. ´There are killers, competitive type focused on winning; then there are socializers mostly interested in interaction with others etc. You have to keep this in mind and create a game that motivates all player types,´ explains Bruinsma.

To help them explain all the different aspects of Serious Gaming, the lecturers have developed the Game of Games, the ideal tool to visualize all the steps you need to take when making a game. Designed as a game itself, this meta-game takes you on a trip to several islands that represent the different levels of game development and it guides you through the developing process in a fun manner.

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