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Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform [Paperback]

David R. Michael , Sandra L. Chen

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Book Description

Oct. 10 2005
Learn how to take the skills and knowledge you use to make games for entertainment to make serious games: games for education, training, healing, and more. ?Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform? teaches game developers how to tap into the rapidly expanding market of serious games. Explore the numerous possibilities that serious games represent such as the ability to teach military training in a non-lethal environment and the ability to convey a particular political viewpoint through a game?s storyline. You?ll get a detailed overview of all of the major markets for serious games, including the military, educators, government agencies, corporations, hospitals, non-profit organizations, religious groups, and activist groups. Discover the goals of each market, the types of games on which they focus, and market-specific issues you need to consider. Case studies of how professionals in these various markets utilize games provide ideas and inspiration as well as credibility for serious games. ?Serious Games? shows you how to apply your game development skills to a new and growing area and also teaches you techniques to make even entertainment-based games richer and more meaningful.

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Part 1. What are Serious Games? 1. New Opportunites for Game Developers 2. Serious Games Defined 3. Serious Games Design and Development Issues Part 2. Serious Games Markets 4. Military Games 5. Government Games 6. Educational Games 7. Corporate Games 8. Healthcare Games 9. Political, Religious, and Art Games 10. Final Thoughts Part 3. Appendixes Appendix A: Resources Appendix B: Serious Games Survey Results Appendix C: Bibliography

About the Author

David "RM" Michael has been a professional programmer for over 10 years, in a variety of industries, including video games. He is the owner of DavidRM Software (http://www.davidrm.com) and co-owner of Samu Games(http://www.samugames.com), both independent software companies. David is the author of The Indie Game Development Survival Guide (Charles River Media; ISBN:1584502142) and was a contributor to Game Design Perspectives (Charles River Media; ISBN:1584500905) on the topic of online community. He has written articles about game development, and covered the Game Developer Conference and the Indie Games Conference for GameDev.Net (http://www.gamedev.net). He has also written role-playing game articles (http://www.davidrm.com/rpg/) and designed his own (unpublished) dice-and-paper RPG rules system. Finally, David has been the editor and primary contributor for the monthly newsletters of both The Journal (http://www.davidrm.com/thejournal/newsletter/) and Artifact (http://www.samugames.com/artifact/news.shtml).

A freelance writer/game designer, Sande Chen has been active in the gaming industry for over five years. She has written for mainstream and industry publications, such as GameDev.Net (http://www.gamedev.net), and was a contributor to Secrets of the Game Business (Charles River Media; ISBN: 1584502827) on the topic of online business models. Her past game credits include IGF winner Terminus, Siege of Avalon, Scooby Doo, and JamDat Scrabble. Sande graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with dual degrees in Economics and in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Afterwards, she continued to combine her love of creative media with her analytical skills by earning a M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics and a M.F.A. in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California. In 1996, she was nominated for a Grammy in music video direction.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Overview for both Novice Games, and Non-Gamer Sponsors of Games Feb. 25 2007
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is exactly what I hoped for when I ordered it from Amazon. In fact, it is much more. The first part, in three chapters, talks about new opportunities for game developers, defines serious games, and talks about design and development issues.

Then the book surprises. It has entire chapters on EACH of the following: Military Games, Government Games, Educational Games, Corporate Games, Healthcare Games, and a chapter on Political, Religious, and Art Games.

Following final thoughts, the book surprises again. The appendices are world-class. Appendix A is a tremendous listing of Conferences (13 in all), and Organizations (6), Contests (1, Hidden Agenda, $25K prize--we need MORE); web sites (6, less impressive than I hoped), and publications (5). Appendix B is a survey with results, and Appendix C is a very fine bibliography as well as a very helpful Glossary of terms in the field, and an index.

Ever since I saw the US Army sponsor the Serious Games summit, and then saw the emergent success of Games for Change, I realized that we were at the beginning of a major explosion of innovation that could change the world.

In my view, Serious Games need to become the new hub for life-long education, for inter-cultural understanding, and for simulating belief systems, including evil belief systems, at both the macro and micro neuroscience levels. The Earth Intelligence Network was just created this year in order to feed free real-world public intelligence to all Serious Gamers as well as to Transpartisan policy and budget developers.

In my humble opinion, Serious Games is the next big leap in the global Internet, especially when integrated with the Way of the Wiki such that open source software standards can allow games on every threat, every policy, every budget, every location, to interact and to empower the public with tools for sense-making and consensus-building that were once limited to a small elite.

This book was everything I hoped for, and much more. I am not now and never intend to be a game developer. I want to see Serious Games expand from isolated toy-like games that focus on one small issue in isolation, to a vibrant "Co-Evolution" Sphere that in an increasingly accurate representation of the Earth, past, present, and future. This book is my ground zero in observing this field, and I have very high hopes for the future of Serious Games.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable resource for anyone interested in Serious Games April 16 2006
By Ricardo J. Rademacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a Serious Game Developer, I am keenly aware of the state of our industry, of our movement. We have in a few years achieved a meteoric rise in exposure and progress but this is not enough. There are a multitude of new ideas and projects that don't know what is out there, that don't know we are out there. There is much still to be learned and only by knowing what is out there here and now can new (and old) projects hope to succeed in this nascent field.

Enter this book.

David Michael (author of "indie game developers survival guide") and Sande Chen have provided an indispensable review of this area in their book "Serious Games: Games that Educate, Train, and Inform". Touching upon all the major areas, they provide a blanket survey of the past and present efforts in this arena, introducing us along the way to the people and the companies that are changing the landscape of video games into something that transcends entertainment. The reading is light and the pace is brisk. The content is clearly broken up so that a person can skip straight to their area of interest or read it front to back and take it all in. The coverage is complete and I feel that no area of the Serious Games space was missed.

I wish I would have had this book three years ago when I started my projects. I would have had a much better idea of where I'm coming from and where I'm going. I am thankful to David and Sande for putting this book together in hopes that future developers will not have to struggle as much as I have.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start but wants a bit more.. July 23 2006
By Simon Egenfeldt-nielsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book provides a good overview but stays on a quite overall level without really getting deep into the important problems in the serious games space. It seems a bit US-centric. But definitely a good companion for anyone wanting to do serious games.
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