Serious games continuum: Between games for purpose and experiential environments for purpose
While many categorizations and definitions have attempted to elucidate the elusive term serious games, we are still some way off formulating an agreed understanding of what serious games are and can be. This article argues that the term serious games challenges our understanding of generally accepted characteristics such as, challenge, play and fun, which are largely associated with and borrowed from video games. It is argued that key to understanding what serious games encapsulate is to look beyond these characteristics. This article proposes a definition and way to frame serious games technologies, applications and environments along a continuum of gaming characteristics or gameness. From those with traditional gaming activities and characteristics (challenge, play, fun, etc.) at one end to those with minimal traditional gaming characteristics at the other end, whose main purpose is to provide experience and emotion to convey meaning. The main advantages of the definition and continuum are to establish a shared understanding and arena for current and emerging serious games, frame and connect currently fragmented groups into a cohesive serious games movement and community and open opportunities for future collaborative research and development. In addition, it helps in identifying characteristics for the design and assessment of serious games.
Computer Gaming and Animation