Play for fun, play to learn

Thoughts on gamification, followed by 6 games to enjoy during the quarantine.

blur-close-up-device-display-442576@Pexels

“It’s a waste of time”, “spending so much time doing nothing”, “sitting all day in front of the laptop” – you have probably heard many people telling that when speaking about their children, spouses or friends.

While gaming is becoming more and more popular both for the younger and more traditional generations, we want to emphasize the positives of playing video games with moderation. Besides the fun you can have, you can always learn something from video games! In these times of isolation, video games can be a good replacement of traditional learning methods, if you are looking for testing your teamwork, time management, problem-solving skills and having some fun with your family. 

We have always been playing

Play was always present in human life. In his book “Homo ludens”, Johan Huizinga describes play as an essential element that, part consciously, part unconsciously, contributed to human development since ancient times. Rituals, social norms, religious traditions – according to Huizinga – all have an element of play that brought more structure and contributed to our development.

Gamification – learning is fun

Huizinga’s theory led to the development of a currently wide used concept – gamification. Gamification refers to using game elements in non-gaming context.  A simple google search will show you that this concept is widely used in many industries, from education to finance, to facilitate the learning process and acquiring new skills.

Traditional gamification methods are widely applied in the learning and development corporate industry. From exercises to role-play, games increase the level of interaction between participants, stimulate problem solving and creativity and offer real examples to back up the theory and make it easier to apply in real life.

Digital era – new gaming opportunities

With the creation of the first computer game in 1962 (Spacewar!), games started slowly to acquire another dimension, that spread very fast beginning with the 1980s – the digital dimension.  At a glance, first computer and arcade games were a great way of enjoying your free time. But most of the games also had a learning component – evolving around problem solving, teamwork, time management, and creativity.

Over the last 2 decades, the digital gaming industry grew exponentially. Currently, there are international e-sports competitions based around worldwide popular games such as Dota, League of Legends, that gather as many fans as traditional sports such as football or basketball. The worldwide video gaming industry is estimated to have reached a 120.1 billion USD $ in 2019, according to Venturebeat.

At present, gaming offers a variety of options for those who want to play:  cinematic-like games, with powerful story-telling behind; multi-player options that ultimately created a strong online global community, simulators offering digital replicas of real-life experiences, like piloting an airplane or a Formula 1 car, city and infrastructure building. Computer games are also used by other industries to make the learning process easier and funnier.

Learn while having fun: our selection of games

For this article, our gaming community at XTENSOS selected 6 recent games that you can play for fun, but also for learning and inspiration. These vary from single to multi-player games, that you can enjoy at home in a single-mode player or together with your family.

Overcooked

Overcooked is a chaotic couch co-op cooking game for one to four players. Working as a team, you and your fellow chefs must prepare, cook and serve up a variety of tasty orders before the baying customers storm out in a huff.

Overcooked is a fun game you can enjoy with your family, while testing your time management, cooperation and working under pressure (cooking) skills.  Just kidding, no real-life cooking skills are needed for this game.

Formula 1 2019

F1® 2019, the official videogame, challenges you to defeat your rivals in the most ambitious F1® game in Codemasters’ history. F1® 2019 features all the official teams, drivers and all 21 circuits from the season.

The F1® 2019 Legends Edition celebrates the greatest rivalry in F1® history. Players get to drive as Ayrton Senna in his 1990 McLaren MP4/5B and Alain Prost in the Ferrari F1-90, and face off over 8 race challenges, as well as receiving exclusive Senna and Prost themed multiplayer car liveries.

If you are a Formula 1 fan, you must check this game! One of the best-in-class when it comes to bringing modern motorsport to life. It will give you a rush of adrenaline while racing in different scenarios with AI or real opponents.

Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines is a modern take on the classic city simulation. The game introduces new game play elements to realize the thrill and hardships of creating and maintaining a real city whilst expanding on some well-established tropes of the city building experience.

This is a perfect game if you are a planner and love details! While building your dream city, you will have to find solutions to the challenges of a growing population and infrastructure. This will require testing different methods, learning from your previous mistake and considering every detail.

Brothers – a tale of two sons

Two brothers, desperate to cure their ailing father, are left with but one option: They must set out upon a journey to find and bring back the “Water of Life”, and in doing so, come to rely on one another to survive. One must be strong when the other is weak, brave when the other is fearful. Throughout the game, you will guide Naia and Naiee on a fairy tale adventure while solving puzzles and fighting battles, but also fighting their inner fears.

With a beautiful and moving story, this game focuses on teamwork to overcome the challenges the two brothers will meet on their journey to save their father.  One brother can not survive without another: you will have to focus on the individual strength of these two characters to progress and overcome their internal fears.

Journey

Explore the ancient, mysterious world of Journey as you soar above ruins and glide across sands to discover its secrets. You can play alone or in the company of a fellow traveler and explore its vast world together.

Journey is a visual and musical experience. After you end the game, you might have more questions than answers.  The game doesn’t tell you who is this mysterious character that moves across the dunes, ruins and mountains: it gives you the opportunity to explore and experiment on your own.

GRIS

Gris is a hopeful young girl lost in her own world, dealing with a painful experience in her life. Her journey through sorrow is manifested in her dress, which grants new abilities to better navigate her faded reality.

The visual experience of this game is breath-taking.  The world Gris will explore together with you is beautiful and meticulously designed. Throughout this heart-warming journey, Gris will grow emotionally, revealing new paths to explore her abilities.  A truly inspirational game.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.