Myths about Serious Games & Improving Public Policy through Game-Based Learning

Two articles of note: Ben Sawyer debunks ten myths about serious games over at The Escapist Magazine:

“The serious games field is rife with misconceptions because it encompasses so much. To help spread the truth about serious games, let’s debunk 10 of the biggest myths about the genre […]

Serious Games are for Learning and Training
The most notorious myth is the notion that serious games are edutainment repackaged under a different moniker. Nothing could be further from the truth. A rich set of games based on goals other than education, including health-related therapies, exercise, public opinion research and economic studies, have enjoyed success. In fact, making a game that teaches a specific lesson is one of the hardest design goals to accomplish. Serious games that act more like utilities and exist beyond education offer a lot of promise for the field’s future.” [more!]

And on a related note, the folks at DigitalMill have published a white paper called

Serious Games: Improving Public Policy through Game-Based
Learning and Simulation

 In today’s public policy environment, computer simulations have become important modern-age tools used to affect the policy debate and implementation process in a variety of areas. Whether they run on supercomputers in the national labs or use off-the-shelf statistical packages and spreadsheets, complex models and simulations are critical in helping scientists, policymakers, and others forecast, examine, and educate people concerning the potential outcomes and effects of public policy.

Given the importance of these models and simulations, it is critical to examine if they are being built as accurately and effectively as possible and whether the models are reaching the widest possible audience. This paper, written by a leading web-technology firm, examines the promise of game-based simulation as applied to public policy.