Interesting comment the other day, Dianne asked:
Just curious if you make a distinction between gamification and serious games. (I think getting overly wedded to terminology is a distraction from looking at the quality, or lack thereof, of particular games, but do see that the emphasis seems a bit different when people talk about the two “fields.”.)
There does seem to be some type of distinction between gamification and serious games. Gamification is “using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems.”
While “serious games” can be defined as a game “designed for the purpose of solving a problem. Although serious games can be entertaining, their main purpose is to train, investigate, or advertise. or Serious Game: “a mental contest, played with a computer in accordance with specific rules that uses entertainment to further government or corporate training, education, health, public policy, and strategic communication objectives.”” (Wikipedia)
So, if you get right down to it, the two are relatively the same both are trying to solve a problem with game thinking. Serious games use game techniques to address a “serious” subject. But while that answer seems to make sense, that doesn’t really “feel right.”
Gamification seems different than serious games even though both might be after the same goal…a game played for something other than pure fun. For example, creating a game to encourage people to buy a particular product or behave in a particular manner such as taking the steps verses and escalator (as shown below)
So, gamification is more than creating a serious game.
I think the expansion of gamification is that it applies game thinking outside of games. So a serious game might be created encouraging people to actually exercise but the gamficiation of a flight of stairs turns the stairs into a piano that makes music as its ascended. So Gamification is the act of taking a non-game item (like stairs) and turning it into a game.
While “Serious Games” are the use of a game environment to teach a “serious” subject.
Does that make sense to everyone?