April 14

Characteristics of games for educational purposes. Reflection 3.3

Dr Who: the first adventure- Opening  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYlqzluU49E

What characteristics of this early game remain relevant?

Fascinating how so much has changed but in fact how little has changed…The characteristics of this game almost all remain relevant today. Recent technology available has allowed better communication of the characteristics, but the concepts remain the same.

The game has:

  • Sound effects – as identified by the research of Wood et al (2004) to be one of the most important features of a game. Although not “realistic “in this game, sound is a major feature.
  • Narrative- A strong narrative creates a context for the problem. Game designers recognise that compelling and engaging narratives allow for immersion and agency, which motivates participation. (Dickey, 2012, p. 245)
  • Goal/challenge- there is a clear goal or challenge for the gamers to aspire to.
  • Rewards – success is rewarded, but even if you fail, you can regenerate and try again. The notion of risk taking is encouraged, failure is not final.
  • Surprise- play offers surprises in the form of new discoveries

Which ‘adventure game’ characteristics might be used in your classroom?Adventure games offer the opportunity for exploration, puzzle solving and storytelling. In my ideal classroom I would embrace all 3 characteristics of adventure games.


  • Encourage curiosity
  • Avoid the linear tradition of subject based teaching.
  • Avoid the compartmentalisation of subjects and promote tangential learning which accommodates individual interests and strengths
  • Promotes collaborative learning, sharing of ideas and peer teaching

Puzzle solving:

  • Set clear challenges with incremented achievable goals
  • Adopt a problem solving approach
  • Encourage a sharing and supportive environment


  • Create compelling real world of fantasy contexts for learning through narratives
  • Support immersion in the experience through engaging narrative
  • Encourage creativity and imagination

What three instructions would you suggest are key to game based learning?instructionsIn Rise of the video game: Level 1 (2012), the developer talks about 3 simple instructions to play the game “Pong”. If I had to give 3 instructions for game based learning, based on my knowledge thus far…which may well change…I would suggest:

  1. “Insert a quarter”

Learners need to “buy into” their learning. Create context, agency and credibility.

  1. “Ball will serve automatically”

Make it easy, convenient and comfortable for students to engage in game based learning. Consider learning styles, access and social and cultural context.

  1. “Avoid missing the ball”

Identify what outcome you want to achieve. Then set the challenge accordingly, so that students to develop the skills to achieve the desired learning outcomes.


Dickey, M. D. (2006), Game Design Narrative for Learning: Appropriating Adventure Game Design Narrative Devices and Techniques for the Design of Interactive Learning Environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, Vol. 54, No. 3  pp. 245-263. Retrieved from http://dh101.humanities.ucla.edu/DH101Fall12Lab4/archive/files/1d83421eae7a8dc06b5aa855329dd627.pdf

[hauntdos}. 92012, November 4). Rise of the video game: Level 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u3Hc13wzHE



Posted April 14, 2016 by moraig in category INF541

2 thoughts on “Characteristics of games for educational purposes. Reflection 3.3

  1. chrisdj

    I’m in a little in awe of your blogging style. What a beautiful and inviting presentation. I wish I knew how you’d done half of the things here – I suspect you are a WordPress expert of some experience!

    I also really agree with your ‘3 characteristics of DGBL’ – and loved the quirky way you introduce them.
    Thanks Moraig!

    1. moraig (Post author)

      Thanks for that. No expert at all, really just learning as I go. Hopefully making some progress?!?


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