How ‘Serious Games’ are changing the face of education

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By Aaron Mclean
Chief Creative Officer/ Partner at SEED Interactive

As developers in the gaming industry, the question we need to continually ask ourselves is “How can we utilize the most powerful and immersive medium on the planet to produce products that educate as well as entertain?” I believe we are at the forefront of a new era in immersive, gamified education––an era that will expand the boundaries of the traditional classroom across the globe, through the virtual world.

At Illumination Games, our partnership publishing company with the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, we set out to achieve this by seamlessly weaving curated historical content into narrative, game play, user interface and audio design. This has enabled us to create captivating, educational experiences that are indistinguishable from standard entertainment products.

We started with the goal of becoming a publishing platform that could transform how the world views education and entertainment. We saw gaming as an incredibly underutilised medium with massive potential outside of casual entertainment––and by forming alliances with partners from the Canadian government to Oculus and other serious gaming technology companies, we are able to help transform the way games are perceived and integrated into daily life.

The Ace Academy brand has achieved widespread global success with nearly half a million downloads for Black Flight, and the second iteration, Skies of Fury, acquires over 30,000 active new users a day. These accomplishments are a testament to how the industry is maturing and recognizing the value of serious games. Produced in conjunction with the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, Black Flight is an incredibly historically accurate World War I mobile app with a rich narrative component based on the real-life no.10 squadron of the Royal Navy. Developed in a painterly style, it stands apart from many of the hyper-realistic simulation games on the market today and will be released in virtual reality on the Gear VR store later this month. By literally putting players into the cockpit of historically accurate World War 1 Fighter planes, they can experience first hand the exhilaration, fear and accomplishments of our Canadian heros first hand.

In May, Black Flight was awarded a Gold Medal in the 2017 International Serious Play Awards, a globally competitive platform for studios that embrace the idea that games can revolutionize learning. With thousands of submissions from all over the world, it is exciting to see how serious games are establishing a presence on the global stage and that ‘edutainment’ is being recognized as a valuable tool in education. This idea––educational entertainment experiences, or what I call edutainment––is what we excel on at Illumination Games.

I see this expanding genre of serious gaming as an unprecedented opportunity to invoke a much need transformation in how we approach technology and the different learning modalities in the classroom. By seamlessly interweaving education, physicality and games on immersive platforms, we will transform the industry and express the medium to its full potential.

Original LinkedIn article here.

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