Commentary: Which Name Is Better - Serious Games or Educational Simulations Or...?

Clark Aldrich, Weblog, Sept 12, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Most of the names suggested for what we most often see named 'serious games' are non-starters. I mean, 'Social Impact Games'? 'Practiceware'? Forget it. We could call them 'serious games', except as Aldrich notes, "Sponsors hate it; instructors from academics, corporate, and military hate it..." I hate it too - why should learning (or business, etc) always be characterized as 'serious'? Me, I think the category is too young to take on a name. For example: I think a 'sim' and a 'simulation' are two different things. How are they different? Well, I don't know, it's hard to characterize - a 'sim' is an object while a 'simulation' is an environment, maybe. I'm not sure we can - or would want - to lump them into the same category. As for "serious games", well I think that's a word made up by press agents and academics trying to get funding (and not a real category of 'thing' at all).
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