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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Monday, 30 June 2008

The Triangle’s Advanced Learning and Technologies Summit

We all know that serious games mean serious business. Companies like IBM, Hilton, Humana and Cisco are discovering what the military learned long ago- that contrary to what our mothers told us, games can boost productivity. NCALTA is a serious games organization based in RTP, North Carolina. NCALTA held their first serious games summit last month in which companies from a wide variety of industries and respected academics in the field of games and instructional learning attended. The Triangle area is not a stranger to the game industry. In fact, according to the Wake County Technical Development Authority, the triangle serves as the country’s second largest gaming center in the US and the locale for the world’s number one game engine hubs. Virtual Heroes is one of several local serious game studios that have made their mark here in North Carolina. Jerry Heneghan, the CEO of Virtual Heroes, is one of the co-founders of NCALTA.

The Advanced Learning and Technology summit was expertly moderated by Tony O’Driscoll, most recently heralded by his astounding report on Leadership and MMORPGs. Other literati who spoke at the summit included Bill Sawyer of Digital Mill, and Merrilea Mayo of the Kauffman Foundation as well as many other leaders in serious games. Visiting enthusiasts flew in from as far away as Europe to attend.

The main themes from the conference included ROI, Web 2.0 integration, academic initiatives, game production cycles and budget showcasing a plethora of examples of how companies were adopting very different approaches to the medium. The examples included everything from Cisco’s short online Flash games that teach students binary to Proton Media’s immersive 3D world complete with Web 2.0, WebEx, full app sharing, and programmable bots for corporate learning.

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