About Serious Games

Serious games (SGs) or persuasive games are computer and video games used as persuasion technology or educational technology. They can be similar to educational games, but are often intended for an audience outside of primary or secondary education. Serious games can be of any genre and many of them can be considered a kind of edutainment.

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Sunday, 5 August 2007

Wii + Second Life = New Training Simulator

Nintendo games have made the Wii controller a satisfyingly realistic controller for pretend tennis, golf and baseball. But how about using it to practice doing surgery, applying pesticides or operating a nuclear power plant?

Real-world simulations like these are perfectly suited to Nintendo's Wiimote, says MIT research fellow David E. Stone. In fact, he claims the motion-sensitive controller is "one of the most significant technology breakthroughs in the history of computer science." Say what?

For Stone, the Wiimote is the key to building realistic training simulators within the virtual world of Second Life. He is helping companies and universities do that through his WorldWired consultancy. Clients include a company interested in training workers for its power plants, a manufacturer of medical devices and pest-control firm Orkin.

Orkin, for example, has hired Stone's firm to create training simulations, which might involve inspecting a house for moisture and heat sources or mixing chemicals and loading them onto a truck.

"This isn't the kind of technology, or model, that this industry -- or Orkin -- is used to considering," notes David Lamb, Orkin's vice president of learning and media services. He's working with senior officers in the company to build a business case for such training, and, given the potential savings the company could eventually realize across its 400 branch offices, "there's a very high probability we'll move into this arena."

One of the attractions of Stone's approach is the low cost. In Second Life, it's relatively easy to build chairs, buildings and other objects for avatars to sit on or walk through. Tools like wrenches or manual controls are also easy to build and, with a little tweaking, users can control them with a Wiimote.

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