A team of researchers is encouraging us to replace textbooks with games, as they advance the application of games in learning, engagement and research.

Known as ‘serious games’, these games are designed for more than just entertainment. From digital applications to physical board games, they are designed for learning, problem-solving, awareness-raising, research and stakeholder engagement — with potential in both schools and workplaces. Educating people about sustainable development and climate change will be an important application.

Leading experts in the field from the universities of Warwick, Cardiff, York and Sussex have worked to help implement gaming across a range of sectors for the project, known as GameEngage. They are bringing together serious game researchers, developers and practitioners to explore new opportunities in the use of serious games.

Academics have put together a ‘Serious Games Cookbook’, which aims to help beginners in using and designing serious games by offering a resource full of detailed guidance. The cookbook will help beginners who are new to serious games, especially those with expert knowledge, who want to find out how to apply that knowledge to games. The Cookbook covers key considerations in using serious games, including setting game goals, choosing the game best suited to those goals, and facilitating gameplay in one session. It also discusses critical aspects of serious game design, covering content and themes, mechanics, player engagement, and strategies for influencing attitudes.

Dr Feng Mao, Associate Professor of Global Sustainable Development, University of Warwick, said: “The cookbook offers a practical guide for serious game design beginners to an emerging and promising tool for learning, engagement and research. , especially in the context of sustainable development and climate change — although we hope it will also be applied more broadly. We hope that Cookbook readers will engage meaningfully with serious games. will encourage and empower engagement.”

Dr Katarzyna Stowers, co-author of the Serious Games Cookbook and Senior Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction at Cardiff University, added: “The cookbook and its components can also be used as research tools, for example to – As part of design workshops, as game design will help the general public to engage with serious topics: instead of playing games designed by others, they can explore topics important to them that the future holds. can be introduced into games or inform other types of projects. It is hoped to encourage and help readers explore the different ways in which games and game design can be used. “

The link to the cookbook is available here: https://publishing.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/uwp/catalog/book/31