On our website you will find many in-depth articles about serious games, how to develop them and what the advantages are. We noticed that companies and organizations have a lot of interest in serious games, but don’t really know when to adopt them. In this article, we answer one of the frequently asked questions we get as a serious game studio: when do you use serious games?

Serious games are games that are used for educational purposes. Think of stimulating a change in behavior, skills acquisition or transferring new knowledge. The game is developed in such a way that the learning objective is woven into various game elements. Think of different challenges with rewards, an immersive game world, appropriate characters and a competition against other players.

Games are already being used successfully in various fields. Think of educational institutions, healthcare, within companies or for sustainability projects. The possibilities of serious games are endless. In this article, we will tell you more about them. You can use serious games in the following situations:

You want to give your target group extra motivation

Everyone could use a little extra motivation from time to time. Children during a complicated maths class, a surgical student who must practice for hours or a patient who must do boring, repetitive exercises every day to rehabilitate. A nice challenge, compliment or reward often sparks motivation. Serious games go a step further by packaging challenges, rewards, competition and a compelling game story into an engaging game.

Gryphon Ryder is an example of a motivating serious game. The game was developed for young rehabilitation clients with non-congenital brain injuries. The clients rehabilitate by doing balance exercises. These repetitive exercises become very boring after a few times. In the serious game Gryphon Rider, the child sits on the back of a gryphon. By leaning to the left or right, they can move the gryphon and have to keep their balance. The further the client gets into the game, the more complicated the movements become. The child is then primarily concerned with the gryphon, rather than “doing balance exercises,” and is, therefore, more motivated to rehabilitate faster. Read more about Gryphon Rider.

You want to create awareness

Sometimes we are either unaware of something, know one side of a story or hear a lot of different voices, like on social media. At the time of writing this blog, there is a lot of ongoing discussions about COVID-19 and its measures. You read many different (un)truths. What can you believe, and what not?

Serious games can help to create awareness. You can see this in the game Burst your Bubble, where players are confronted with this situation. You can only play the game if you can put yourself in someone else’s ‘news bubble’. This way people become aware of social media influence on how we look at the news.

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You want to stimulate a change in behavior

Serious games are also an ideal solution when you want to change behavior or teach (good) habits. Imagine you want to motivate your staff to live healthily. For example, you can give them a cash bonus if they go for a 30-minute walk every lunch break. That’s extrinsic motivation. Unfortunately, that only works in the short term. For intrinsic motivation, you need awareness of the benefits of healthy living.

Serious games can motivate players intrinsically in an accessible way. Greenhabit is a serious game in which players work on their health in a playful way for 12 weeks. Every day the player gets a challenge and of course a reward. Think of points or badges, but it can also be a voucher that can be redeemed in your neighbourhood. Through a combination of refreshing content and challenges, appropriate rewards, insight into your progress and sharing your experiences with your buddies, the game manages to stimulate positive behaviour change in an accessible way.

You want to make training scalable and flexible

In some organizations, the influx of new staff is so large that it’s impossible to give everyone personal guidance during their induction period. Another example is the surgical department in a hospital, where surgeons have to train for about 5 hours every week. In this scenario, a fixed simulator is not useful. Serious games are not only motivating; they are also practical. They can be played anytime and anywhere, and everyone can train at the same time.

In addition, through games, employees are also better educated. They can practice endlessly in a safe environment. This way, you can prevent incidents in practice.

Examples of serious games

In this article, you have read some examples of situations in which serious games are a good solution. The possibilities of serious games are endless. Also, have a look at this article, which shows five examples of successful serious game solutions.

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Would you like to know more about serious games? Do you have a challenge and wonder if serious games would be useful in your situation? Please contact Tim Laning to discuss it!