大伙儿，请告诉我你所知道的最热门的严肃游戏是什么——Mattie Brice (@xMattieBrice)
@xMattieBrice Oregon Trail, http://t.co/cbAG7SzEBf,《America’s Army》/《Full Spectrum Warrrior》、《MS Flight Sim》、《FoldIt》——Raph Koster (@raphkoster)
我很喜欢这个有趣的混搭推荐。比如，我很高兴他提到《MS Flight Sim》。对于这个问题，我的第一个反应是《Darfur is dying》和《Plantville》。
模拟游戏是让你与各种真实事物的虚拟版本进行互动活动的游戏。Raph Koster提到的《MS Flight》就是一个好例子。这款游戏确实能够设置任务，可用作训练工具，但它不需要玩法。它的设计意图是教你如何开飞机。另一款有趣的严肃游戏是《Cornak》。这款游戏教你出售商品和管理客户资料的基本知识。它模拟了一家出售红色和蓝色方块的的公司，让你扮演它的主管。一方面，你可以说它是一款教学游戏，因为它有关于虚构公司的场景；另一方面，你可以说它是模拟游戏，因为教学游戏如《Phantomation》是教你如何做某事，而模拟游戏是让你以虚拟的方式实践某事。
这种游戏的意图是通过向玩家传达有教育意义的信息，使玩家根据那个信息做出改变。一个典型的例子就是《Darfur is Dying》。这是由Reebok人权基金会和国际危机组织主持的活动的产物。来自南加州大学的5名学生制作了这款游戏，让玩家扮演一个无家可归的Darfur难民。它的目的是让玩家看到苏丹危机导致数百万人流离失所、面临苦难。这类游戏并不是教你如何使用工具或做某事的方法，而是通过有意义的方式让你知道一些你可能从来没想过的道理。
玩这类游戏会产生一些真实世界的结果。我想到了三个例子：《Fold It》、《Tilt World》和《Digitakoot》。《FoldIt》是一款热门的游戏，经常被那些主张游戏化的人引用为例。在这款益智游戏中，玩家的任务是通过折叠蛋白质预测结果。理解如何折叠蛋白质可以帮助开发治疗所有疾病如HIV和甚至癌症的药物。人类确实非常擅长解决问题，所以在仅仅10天内，玩家就折叠出一个困扰了科学家十多年的酶结构。Nicole Lazzaro开发的《Tilt World》是一款手机游戏，玩家在其中扮演最后一只蝌蚪——Flip。玩家必须吃空气中的碳元素才能有回家的精力。虽然这看起来像是意义游戏，因为它试图传达关于生态学的信息，但它的独特之处在于，玩这款游戏促进了马达加斯加的植树运动。我的最后一个例子是《Digitakoot》，玩家要通过打单词，帮鼹鼠造一座桥。所有单词都是从芬兰国家图书馆的报纸、书籍和杂志中扫描出来的。玩家实际上是查看电脑已经做好的OCR（光学字符识别）。
所以回到我最初提出的问题。“严肃游戏”这个词是不是太宽泛了？在我看来，是的。有这么多类型的游戏可以划分为严肃游戏，我们应该停止把那么多游戏贴上同一个标签，即使是为了方便。如果你必须，那么除非你是在谈论不以娱乐为目的的游戏。一个词怎么能涵盖从《Americas Army》到《Darfur is dying》这么多游戏呢？如果可以，那么这个词等于没有任何意义。
Serious Games: Too Broad a Term to be Meaningful
by Andrzej Marczewski
A while back, I wrote a piece on the difference between serious games, games and gamification. It was simple, but covered the important areas of what makes them different from each other. Since then, I have had more involvement with serious games (recently helped as one of the judges for the Serious Play Awards for instance) and it has started to dawn on me that we are still confused as to what they actually are.
Yesterday, Mattie Brice posted the following on twitter
Hey y’all, tell me the most popular serious games you know of — Mattie Brice (@xMattieBrice) September 23, 2013
Soon after, Raph Koster replied with
@xMattieBrice Oregon Trail, http://t.co/cbAG7SzEBf, America’s Army/Full Spectrum Warrrior, MS Flight Sim, FoldIt — Raph Koster (@raphkoster) September 23, 2013
It was an interesting mix and one that I really like. I love that he has included MS Flight Sim, for instance. My first response was Darfur is dying and Plantville (which I have spoken about in the past).
However, what got me thinking was just how broad this mix was. It went from teaching games, to simulators to games that tried to get across a deep meaning and lesson about the hardships people are facing in the world. Is lumping all of these under the banner of serious games doing them a disservice?
Ian Bogost recently did a talk about serious games, he expressed the idea that really what we want to talk about is ‘earnest games’. His big issue with serious games was that“they’re not really that concerned about being games” . Whether he is right or wrong, he raises some interesting questions about the state of serious games. Many are little more than graphical, interactive teaching aides – nothing to do with real games. For me, that isn’t actually such a bad thing. Graphical and interactive is still better than reading a text book – but it still isn’t a game however you look at it, so why should we define it as a serious game?
Having looked at an array of games that fall under the banner of seious games, they can be roughly split into four types, based on the design intent of the game that is their main intent is not that of pure entertainment. Teaching Game, Simulator, Meaningful Game and Purposeful Game. I am ignoring interactive, non game teaching materials!
Teaching Game / Games for Learning
This is a game where you are taught how to do something, by playing a real game. The example that springs to mind from the group I reviewed is Phantomation. This was a game that was designed to teach you how to use the animation software Play Sketch. Rather than just showing you the tools, it has you solving various puzzles that need deeper and deeper understanding of the tool. The big thing with this game was that it could be enjoyed as a game in its own right, even if you didn’t have an interest in learning the tool!
A simulator is where you are interacting with a virtual version of something real. Raph Koster mentioned MS Flight, which is a great example. Whilst this game does have the ability to set tasks and missions, used as a training aide it does not need gameplay. The idea is to learn how to fly a plane. Another interesting entry to the Serious Play Awards was Cornak. This game sets out to teach you the basics of selling products and managing a client portfolio. It simulates a company that sells red and blue cubes and puts you at the heart of managing it. On the one hand, you could say that this is a teaching game, as it has scenarios and is about a fictitious company. Where a teaching game, like Phanotmation was all about teaching you how to do something, a simulator is about giving you a virtual way of practicing something.
Meaningful Game / Games for Good
This is a game that tries to get a across a meaningful message and if possible promote change with that message. An example of this would be Darfur is Dying. This was the result of a competition run by the Reebok Human Rights Foundation and the International Crisis Group. Five students from the University of Southern California created the winning game, that placed you in the shoes of a displaced Darfurian refugee. It aimed to show the hardships faced by the millions of people who had been displaced by the crisis in Sudan. Rather than trying to teach you a tool or a method of doing something, this type of game is trying to inform you about things that may never have crossed your mind in a way that is engaging and meaningful.
Darfur is Dying
The idea of a purposeful game is that playing it has some sort of real world outcome. Three examples of this come to mind. FoldIt, Tilt World and Digitakoot. FoldIt is a popular game that is often cited by gamification folk. It is a puzzle game that sets the player the task of predicting the structure of proteins by folding it. Understanding how proteins fold can help lead to the development cures all sorts of sorts of diseases, including HIV and even Cancer. Humans are really good at solving puzzles, so much so that in just ten days, gamers had solved one enzymatic structure that scientists had been trying to unravel for more than a decade. Tilt World, by Nicole Lazzaro, is a mobile game that puts you in the body of the last tadpole – Flip. You must eat carbon from the air in an attempt to restore sunshine to flips home. Whilst this may seem like a meaningful game, in that it is trying to promote a message about ecology, the unique thing about Tilt World is that playing it leads to trees being planted in Madagascar. My final example is Digitalkoot. Here the player had to type words as they appear, building a bridge for a mole to walk along. Each word is actually scanned in from newspapers, books and journals from Finland’s National Library. The players are effectively checking the OCR that computers have done already.
Teaching Game: Teaches you something using real gameplay.
Simulator: A virtual version of something from the real world that allows safe practice and testing.
Meaningful Game: Uses gameplay to promote a meaningful message to the player.
Purposeful Game: Uses games to create direct real world outcomes.
So back to my original question. Is Serious Games too broad a term? In my opinion, yes. There are so many types of game that could fall into this, that we should stop just throwing them all under the one title, even for convenience. If you have to, talk about games designed for non entertainment purposes. How can a term that currently holds anything from Americas Army to Darfur is dying be meaningful anymore – it can’t.
One thing that is clear though, if you are going to call it a game – make it a game!(source:gamasutra)