MET:Video Games

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This page originally authored by Yu Tian (2008).

This page has been revised by Marjorie del Mundo and Ed Stuerle (2009).

This page has been revised by Jeff Laird (2009).

This page has been revised by Ed Leung (2009).

This page has been revised by Perdeep Samra (2009).

This page has been revised by Joey Turco (2011).

This page has been revised by Tyler Sherwood (2013).

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This page has been revised by Tomek Ziemba (2016).

This page has been revised by Derrick Cheung (2017).

This page has been revised by Michael Saretzky (2018).

File:Boy videogames.jpg
Boy playing video games

A video game is a game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback and manipulate visual images on a video device or screen [1]. Over three decades, the video game has become the entertainment medium of choice for millions of people, who now spend more time in the interactive virtual world of games than they do watching movies or television. The release of new games or game-playing equipment, such as the PlayStation 3,the Nintendo Wii, and Xbox 360 generates great excitement and buying frenzies. With over 9.6 billion dollars in U.S. sales video games have become a significant part of the cultural landscape. According to Reuters the global games industry is in the $65 billion range.

Developmental history

The origins of video games date back to the 1940s and 50s and the development of cathode ray tube- based missile defense systems. By the 1960s, as technology improved, video game development continued to forge ahead as games became more intricate and sophisticated in design. It was in the 1970s that video games began to appear in different platforms such as arcade, console, and personal computer. The first commercial coined operated game was "Computer Space”. It was created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney and was released in November of 1971 by Nutting Associates. Bushnell and Dabney later started Atari Inc. from which they released the highly successful arcade version of Pong in 1972 (and the home version in 1975). In 1977, as a follow-up to Pong, Atari released the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) later known as the Atari 2600. This system was a cartridge-based video game console. The Atari VCS was not initially successful, but it grew in popularity and by 1980 it had grossed more than 2 billion dollars. With the success of the Atari VCS system, the burgeoning video game industry was born and competing game consoles such as Colecovision, Mattel’s Intellivision, and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) were developed.

Video games have evolved steadily due to emerging technologies such as faster CPUs and graphic engines, LCD and LED technology, and online networking and motion capture technologies. Today’s gaming platforms bear little resemblance to their early predecessors. Video console gaming systems such as Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii and new WiiU, and handheld gaming systems such as Nintendo 3DS, new Sony Vita, Apple iPad/iPad Mini and smart phones offer users an unprecedented level of interaction that could have vast potential in an educational environment.

Video games vary from single-player to multi-player [2]. The different genres and content of video games are listed as follows: Abstract, Action, Adaptation, Adventure, Artificial Life, Board Games, Capturing, Card Games, Catching, Chase, Collecting, Combat, Demo, Diagnostic, Dodging, Driving, Educational, Escape, Fighting, First Person Shooters, Flying, Gambling, Interactive Movie, Maze, Obstacle Course, Pencil‐and‐Paper Games, Pinball, Platform, Programming Games, Puzzle, Quiz, Racing, Role‐Playing, Rhythm and Dance, Shoot ’Em Up, Simulation, Sports, Strategy, Table‐Top Games, Target, Text Adventure and Training (e.g., Airline, Business, Health, Life, Management, Medical, Social Change).

The advent of online gaming has ushered in a new era for video gamers. Video game players can now play and communicate with gamers all over the world. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is capable of bringing millions of video gamers from 38 countries/regions together to play games on the Xbox Live network [3]. Gamers can even access their Xbox Live Network using their mobile phones or tablets (iPad/Android tablets using XBox SmartGlass). Both the Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii offer similar services, though not as popular as the XBox Live experience. For PC players, the Steam network brings together over 4.7 million gamers globally as well. There have recently been discussions about bringing a SteamBox console to the market to compete with Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. The advent of gaming using smart phones (such as Android phones or iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads) has further revolutionized the networking capabilities of online gaming.

Next Generation (Next Gen) Consoles

PlayStation 4 (PS4)

As of March 2014, PS4 reported to have sold 6 million consoles globally along with 13.7 million video games PS4 hits 6 million consoles sold, 13.7 million games; Xbox One still only around 4 million.[4]. PS4 is not only the quickest gaming console to sell, but the most powerful system with the fastest memory and highest resolution PS4 vs. Xbox One vs. Wii U Comparison Chart.[5].


A handheld gaming device was released by Sony in Japan in 2011, and most other parts of the world in 2012. The handheld is called 'Vita' and it is the successor to the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The Vita has a 5 inch touchscreen on the front and a rear touch pad as well, along with a much more powerful processor and graphics chip over the PSP, and a front and rear facing camera. The Vita is available in a WiFi model or a Wifi and 3G model. Gamers were most delighted that the new Vita has two analogue controller sticks, where the PSP only had one (two sticks makes the Vita more like a PS4 gamepad). The Vita links to gamers’ PS4 machines and some games contain versions for both the PS4 and the Vita (meaning gamers only have to buy one game and get it for both devices). New PS4 games link to the Vita for remote play.

Xbox One

The Xbox One stands at about 4 million consoles sold, as of March 2014 [4]. Unlike the Xbox 360, the Xbox One comes with the Kinect, a motion capture camera [6]. There are many games available that utilize the Kinect feature, such as exercising and sport games [6]. The Xbox One also has a feature that allows users to watch and access television programs simultaneously when gaming [6].


The Nintendo WiiU was launched ahead of the other consoles but to mediocre fanfare. The WiiU introduces a new game controller that has a built-in touch screen [7]. Games use this new screen in a variety of ways. The game controller can also be used for remote play, where users can play a video game with the game console on and the game screen (not using the television screen) [7].

Current statistics

According to Neilson, 58% of all US households have at least one type of console/gaming device, with 24% having at least 2. Handheld gaming is on the rise with 66% of households with kids between 6 and 12 years old having a PSP or DS, in addition to an iOS device. The majority (60%) of players are males and the average age of gamers is 35. Those who play video games have been doing so for a number of years. The average number of years adult gamers have been playing is 12. On a yearly basis video gamers spend a total of 3.38 billion hours playing video games [8] . Video game playing has increased from 27 minutes in 1999 to 1 hour 29 minutes in 2009 (Media Use Statistics). The average age of a gamer is 34 years old with the average age of the most frequent game purchaser being 39 years old.

Statistics taken by Nielson in 2009 in the U.S. in regarding specific game consoles, confirms Microsoft’s Xbox 360 as the most popular console based on minutes played, capturing 23.1% of gaming time. Playstation 2 came in second with 20.4% of usage time followed by the Nintendo Wii. Playstation 3 did not make the top 3. In Canada, 47% of households have at least one console (XBox 360, PS3, Wii) and 96% of households own a computer [9]. The most popular platform for gaming in Canada is the PC, with 49%, while consoles come in at 34% [9][10].

Games sold in Canada and the US (as well as most markets) come with ratings based on content (violence and maturity) so that parents can help make positive choices of games for their child(ren). In 2012, in Canada, 83% of parents said they checked the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings on games they bought for their child [11]. 93% have said that the ESRB ratings are helpful in making decisions about whether or not to buy or rent the game [11]. In the US, 88% of parents said they believe the ESRB ratings are helpful [11]. Of the 245.6 million video games sold in the US in 2011, 73% were rated 'E' for Everyone, 'T' for Teen or 'E10+' for everyone over the age of 10 [10].

Some fear that gaming limits social interaction; however, statistics indicate that 59% of gamers are playing with another person present [12]. In addition, gaming appears to becoming more accepted by parents as 63% of parents believe video games are a positive part of their child's lives [12]. The video game appears to be, by far, the more important form of communication medium by children [13]. Online and mobile phone network games (such as Android and iPhones) are increasing yearly and markets for networked games have quickly emerged. Along with the popularity of commercial and open-world sandbox type games (such as Minecraft), teachers are displaying more interest in the use of educational games for the classroom and consider educational games useful for individual independent study. Because video games are continually changing, more studies may be needed to show the impact of certain video games on educational performance and achievement.

Game Rating Systems

Most countries have a rating system for games that is similar to that of film and, in many cases, the same system is used. The categorization of games is intended to provide parents/guardians a better understanding of whether the game is suited for the age of their child (eg violence and graphic nature of the game).

In North America, there is the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), with the following ratings: 'C' (early childhood), 'E' (everyone), 'E 10+' (everyone over the age of 10), 'T' (teen), 'M' (mature over the age of 17) and 'A' (adult or over the age of 18).

In Europe, there is the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) system, with the following ratings: '3' (suitable for ages 3 and up), '7' (suitable for ages 7 and up), '12' (suitable for ages 12 and up), '16' (suitable for ages 16 and up), '18' (suitable for adults).

In Australia, there is the Australian Classification Board, with the following ratings: 'E' (exempt from classification because it is for young children), 'G' (general viewing for all), 'PG' (parental guidance as some material may be upsetting for younger children), 'M' (recommended for mature audiences), 'MA 15+' (children under the age of 15 require adult supervision), 'R 18+' (intended only for adults).

Australia, in particular, has made it quite difficult for some games to enter the country and has even banned some games that are easily purchased elsewhere. Some game companies alter their games in order to comply with Australian regulations so that they can be sold there (Konami, for example, modified one of their SIlent Hill games to remove a scene where the gamer drilled into the body parts of other characters). Upon removal, Australia gave the game a 'MA 15+' rating.

Effects of video games

Behavioral effects

File:Halo3 violence.jpg
Violence in video games as shown in Halo 3.

There are numerous reported positive and negative effects of video games which have varying degrees of merit. Among the positive effects of video games include the fact that video game playing introduces children to computer technology. Games can give practice in following directions. Some games provide practice in problem solving and logic. When video games are played in groups players interact and work together to solve problems the video game presents [14]. As a result, video games can provide the opportunity to co-operate in order to solve a problem. Games can provide practice in use of fine motor and spatial skills. Video games can provide occasions for parent and child to play together. Players are introduced to information technology. Some games have therapeutic applications with patients. Games are entertaining and fun.

One suggested negative effect includes the possibility that dependence on video games could foster social isolation. However, Visscher (2006) counters this idea noting that “many games, particularly those played on the computer or the Internet, are designed for teams” (p.42)[15]. Another negative effect is that practicing violent acts may contribute more to aggressive behavior than passive television watching. While there is a growing body of research that shows a positive correlation between video game violence and aggressive behavior [16], there are also studies that show a negative correlation between video games and aggressive behavior (Walenius & Punamaki, 2008). One should always take correlational results with a grain of salt as they do not imply causation. Additionally, the media tends to over emphasize the prevalence of violent games. The Progress and Freedom Foundation calculated that eighty percent of the most popular games released between 2001 and 2006 were rated “E” for everyone or “T” for teen – not particularly violent [15].

Women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually provocative. Game environments are often based on plots of violence, aggression and gender bias. Many games only offer an arena of weapons, killings, kicking, stabbing and shooting. Playing violent video games may be related to aggressive behavior [17]. Questions have been raised about early exposure to violent video games. Many games do not offer action that requires independent thought or creativity. Games can confuse reality and fantasy. In many violent games, players must become more violent to win. In "1st person" violent video games the player may be more affected because he or she controls the game and experiences the action through the eyes of his or her character. Academic achievement may be negatively related to over-all time spent playing video games.

The most observed negative perception on video games is the causal connection between the violent content and violent behavior in children. The effects of violent media on behavior have been studied for decades and have consistently shown negative effects. Cross-sectional studies have found that a connection exists between violent media and aggressive behaviors. Laboratory studies using violent stimuli show increases in aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors following exposure [18] . However, when one looks at the greater picture, youth and teen violence has been is falling dramatically over the past ten years [15] [19] – precisely the time when violent video games became more prevalent.

Addictive Qualities of Video Games

Although there have been numerous studies conducted on video game addiction, currently there is no standard video game addiction definition. Researchers, however, believe that people who show signs of addiction will demonstrate behaviours such as having uncontrollable urges and loss of control, obsession with use, and an uncontrollable desire to continue the activity even though it may be creating complications in their lives (Skoric et al). The May 2009 edition of Psychological Science published a study which analyzed the effects of video games on children and adolescents. In this study, over 1100 children were asked questions about their video game use. Researchers asked questions about; time spent playing video games, if gaming was used to avoid problems in their lives, if gaming caused them to skip homework and household chores, and if gaming led to them spending too much money. The results of the study indicated that around 1 in 12 of these children had an addiction to gaming [20]. Others estimate that roughly 8% of all children and teens are addicted to playing video games [21]. In addition, much of the research that has been conducted thus far reveals a negative correlation between academic performance and addiction to video games. However, a recent study (2008) conducted in Singapore on 333 children ages 8-12 years old from 2 primary schools revealed that gaming may not be detrimental to scholastic performance, and in some cases, may improve student performance in certain subjects. Using a survey based on Danforth’s Engagement-Addiction (II) scale, questions from DSM-IV, and student grades, findings indicated no negative correlation between time spent playing video games and scholastic performance on elementary school children. The study also revealed a positive relationship between the amount of time playing video games and English Test scores. More research needs to be conducted on the relationship between gaming and scholastic performance.

Gaming addiction has become such a serious problem that there are many resources available online dedicated to helping people with their addiction. Online Gamers Anonymous ( is one example of a website committed to assisting people who are addicted to online video games [22]. In their mission statement they state that, “On-Line Gamers Anonymous is a fellowship of people sharing their experience, strengths and hope to help each other recover and heal from the problems caused by excessive game playing”. Online Gamers Anonymous provides a help and support discussion forum for addicted gamers and friends and family members of addicts [22]. Video Game Addiction ( is another website resource for gaming addiction information [23]. The site features extensive information on gaming addiction, teen internet addiction, the most addictive games, treatment options amongst many other resources [23].

In some cases, gaming addiction has been linked to fatalities. In 2008 in Ontario Canada, 15 year old Brandon Crisp ran away from home on Thanksgiving day after his parents took away the use of his Xbox 360 due to diminishing grades at school. Three weeks later his body was discovered by hunters in a wooded area. Autopsy reports indicated that Brandon succumbed to injuries sustained falling out of a tree.

BBC's Panorama - Video Game Addiction Documentary

Part 1/2 [24]

Part 2/2 [25]

Educational advantages

Video games are frequently played by many individuals and are believed to have educational attributes which can improve and stimulate the educational performance of a learner. By playing video games, learners can achieve and enhance various kinds of abilities and levels of competence such as knowledge, skills, planning, creativity, problem solving, strategic thinking, communication, negotiation and collaborative decision making. "The very process of game-playing can be viewed as learning to understand the 'rule code', which may well enhance the skill of inductive discovery, the thought process behind scientific thinking" [26].

This stop motion animation details some of the various educational advantages of using video games in supervised classroom settings. Video Games in Education by Tomek Ziemba 2015W2-ETEC510-65A.

Video games provide a situated learning environment, where learners can learn important and valuable "real life" lessons, such as [26]:

  1. Cause and effect
  2. Long term winning versus short term gains
  3. Order from seeming chaos
  4. Second-order consequences
  5. Complex system behaviors
  6. Counter-intuitive results
  7. Using obstacles as motivation
  8. The value of persistence

YouTube Channel AsapSCIENCE has made an educational summary video entitled Can Video Games Make You Smarter? Added by Tomek Ziemba, 2016.

Video games for active learning and critical thinking

Good games can be a valuable way for learners to experience the world. Since video games have the potential to lead to active learning and critical thinking, educators and parents need to recognize some features to judge their effectivness. Gee (2003) states that good video games involve the following [27] :

  1. Learning to experience (see and act on) the world in a new way.
  2. Gaining the potential to join and collaborate with a new affinity group
  3. Developing resources for future learning and problem solving in the semiotic domains to which the game is related
  4. Learning how to think about semiotic domains as design spaces that engage and manipulate people in certain ways and, in turn, help create certain relationships in society among people and groups of people, some of which have important implication for social justice.

One sandbox, open world type game that has recently become popular in schools and with students is Minecraft. Minecraft allows players to use simple tools in an open world to create anything they can imagine [28]. There are numerous sites dedicated to showcasing the creations of players, with some highlights being the full scale replica of the Star Trek ship Enterprise, Ancient Greek constructions and entire city blocks. The creators of Minecraft have set up an education site for teachers and students to access the game at discounted pricing and to assist in the creation of servers [28].

Stop-motion video that discusses how good video games must make use good learning philosophies, and that poorly received games are not designed to promote learning. Video Link. Added by Derrick Cheung, January 29, 2017.

Using video games for education

Stop Motion Animation

This stop motion animation illustrates how video games exhibit attributes that are conducive to learning and why their implementation in education is enticing. Video Games - Stop Motion Animation. Added by Rachel Petrynko, February 5th, 2015.

This stop motion video looks at how video games can be beneficial to the classroom environment. Video Games and Learning. Added by Michael Saretzky January 28th, 2018.

The intersection of play and education

File:Flightsim 1.jpg
Flight simulation training module used by Delta Air Lines for pilots.

While video games have not been largely incorporated into K-12 school education in the past even if they are designed to be interesting, useful for learning, or usable in the classroom environment, the trend is slowly changing. Traditionally, some educators feel that entertaining games lack the educational value and significance to fulfill learning objectives and that educational games are not considered as much fun as the mainstream commercial games. De Castell and Jenson (2003) have found that existing educational games “trivialize students’ goals, abilities and forms of engagement and leave little room for their participation in authentic knowledge-generation… and are unable to permit or support freedom of movement in space whether actual or virtual” [29].

There have been games developed solely with student's education in mind. Immune attack is an example of an educational game that was developed to teach students about biology and immunology [8]. Food Force is a game that challenges students to provide food to a famine ravaged country [8]. Discover Babylon is another intriguing game that historically and scientifically accurate. In Discover Babylon students must understand how Mesopotamian society operated in order to solve the mysteries within the game [8].

There are several attributes of video games that make the implementation of them in an educational setting enticing. Video games offer:high time-on-task; motivation and goal orientation, even after failure; cues, hints, and partial solutions to keep players progressing through learning and finally video games are infinitely patient.

Video games have been used for experiential learning such as professional workplace training. War games are used by the United States military to train for high-level international command coordination to weapon use. Companies are also developing educational games for businesses to cover subjects including technical training and sexual harassment awareness (SREC, n.d.).

In recent months, video games have slowly been accepted as a complement to lesson plans. For example, the now popular Nintendo Wii Music game is used in 51 cities across the U.S. to help foster the development of music appreciation among students in elementary school classes [30]. While unable to replace the true hands-on experience students can get when touching an actual musical instrument, Wii Music is meant to introduce the musically-uninitiated to various instruments (over 60, according to Nintendo's website), rhythm, tempo, melody, harmony, and improvisation. This incorporation is seen to be especially positive among schools that are financially unable to purchase a large number of musical instruments [30].

In a lesser role, the Nintendo Wii has been employed by schools to offer students some variety and/or alternatives to their physical education program .[31]. Some elementary schools in New York, for example, used various Wii games during snowy weather to ensure students would continue to exercise when they cannot go outside the school for their PE classes [31]. In fact virtual fitness platforms and games like the Wii had increased sales during the economic slow down.

Games which are created for training and educational purposes and not just for the sole purpose of entertaining are also referred to as serious games. Serious games incorporate problems that must be solved.

Case Study: Making History [32]

The case study presented below outlines the potential benefits of gaming. After preparing students with curricular content, expectations and practicing game skills, teachers have the power to enhance the classroom environment by guiding their students through their learning.

Watson, Mong, and Harris (2011) conduct a qualitative study that concentrates on the integration of Making History in a high school history class . Making History is a strategy computer game that focuses on World War II and its preceding years. Mr. Irvine, the teacher who implements Making History, has four years of experience teaching with this game and spends one day per week teaching students on World War II content (laying out the foundations) and the other three days allowing students to play the game (applying knowledge). He set clear curricular expectations and guidelines, in order for students to benefit from this experience.

The learning outcomes that Mr. Irvine outlined were based on students’ abilities to demonstrate understanding on: whether the war could have been avoided, the actual cause for the war, and the purpose of treaties between countries. Through Making History, students made decisions for the nation in which they were role-playing. This game allowed students to live and experience the consequences of certain decisions, and help understand the thinking processes of the people submerged in such environments. Irvine reports that, typically, students who played the role of Germany “would often find themselves quickly defeated if rushing off to war before they had developed enough resources to carry out their attacks” (472). Making History fosters an environment that promotes learning through play, while deepening students’ understandings of why such events in history occurred.

It was found that student engagement increased and the environment shifted from teacher-directed to student-centered. Students were engaged with the content, as it was considered to be “hands-on fun” with its challenges and entertainment value. Even students who did not play video games found Making History to be enjoyable and beneficial to their learning. The classroom environment transformed, as students were taking control of their own learning through their decisions in the game and interactions with one another. Throughout their journey, their teacher, Mr. Irvine, was there as a coach and guide. Mr. Irvine fostered a positive learning environment through his enthusiasm and knowledge of Making History, as his excitement spread across his students.

Games to support students with disabilities in education

Currently, the use of video games to support students with disabilities (physical and learning disabilities) is being studied at various universities throughout North America. One such study conducted by Dr. Elaine Pearson and Chris Bailey researched the potential of the Nintendo Wii to support students with disabilities [33]. The study examined the accessibility of the Nintendo Wii and an assortment of games with students with special needs. Observing groups of students with disabilities (physical and learning) the study concluded that the use of video games helped improve motivation, encouraged physical activity amongst users in wheelchairs, and instilled confidence amongst users and improved collaboration skills [33]. Educators can take advantage of the latest generation game consoles and tablets to provide a new way of interaction and accessibility. The Nintendo Wii, for example incorporates a wireless, non-traditional, one-handed controller which is able to identify and track motion providing a sense of freedom to the user. Combined with the available games for the Wii, the Wii console has the potential to be used as a teaching platform that supports students with disabilities.

Other latest generation gaming consoles featuring similar technology as the Nintendo Wii are Xbox's Kinect system and Playstation 3's Move interface. Microsoft has released their “Kinect” technology that allows gamers to play without the need for a controller in their hand at all. As well, Sony has unveiled the Playstation Move, which is very similar to the Nintendo Wii’s controller but looks more like a wand that is able to detect motion.

While not solely a gaming device, Apple’s iPad is gaining popularity in supporting students with disabilities due to its unique touchscreen capability and highly interactive user interface. iPad application Proloquo2Go is game software designed specifically to help students with autism communicate [34]. The software uses symbols, incorporates text-to speech technology, voice symbols and basic vocabulary to help those who have difficulty communicating [34]. The list of games and applications on iOS devices for students with learning disabilities is growing. Numerous lists are easily found through a search on the internet. One such list can be found here.

From educational training to video games

Some educational games have not always started out as commercial video games. Flight simulators, for example, first appeared in the early 1900’s as a synthetic flight training device that was invented to train manned flight. In the 1940’s the device evolved to the electronic flight simulator and in the 1950’s, further evolved to the digital flight simulator. NASA has been using ground-based and in-flight simulators since the late 1950’s for training, which they consider as invaluable tools for training [35]. Modern flight simulators are also currently used by airlines such as Delta Airlines and Lufthansa for training. Flight simulation video games include Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X and open-source flight simulator, FlightGear. The US Army is planning on spending more than $50 million on game technology in order to better train their troops. America's Army is one particular video game project developed by the United States military to deliver a highly realistic military experience to potential recruits [36].

Negative Notions and Counter-arguments

Implementing video games in schools is a controversial topic. Some educators are willing to test the waters, whereas others are more reluctant. Thus, video game integration in the classroom is not entirely the norm—but why? There are some key factors that prevent teachers from utilizing video games [37]:

1. Curriculum: The lack of flexibility of the curriculum and finding games with curricular content is the greatest factor that discourages teachers.

Counter-argument: There are many games on the market that can support the curriculum, and there are even games that are created for educational purposes. For example, River City, Whyville and Quest Atlantis are curriculum-based games created to support academic subjects [8].

In River City students work together to test hypotheses to determine why the residents of River City have fallen ill (i.e. they must choose one answer out of three possible illnesses). Through inquiry-based learning, students work together to develop and execute a plan of action. This game applies scientific knowledge in potential situations and allows students to see the possibilities of executing certain decisions. In terms of the curriculum, students are able to explain how science affects individuals in environments and perform an experiment using the scientific method [38]. Similarly, Whyville allows students to develop their understanding of biomedical research and animal science through interactive gameplay [39]

Quest Atlantis is an inquiry-based game that requires players to participate in quests with interactive tasks that reside in a theme-based virtual world. The themes are linked directly to academic subjects, such as Math and Science [40]. Studies have shown that students who played Quest Atlantis were able to retrieve the curriculum content months later, compared to the students who learned through traditional teaching methods [40].

2. Undesirable effects of gaming: Teachers and parents fear that students may become addicted and highly competitive. Experienced teachers hold this to a greater extent than novice teachers.

Counter-argument: Teachers can avoid these negative effects of gaming by establishing and reinforcing clear guidelines along with being “familiar with the learning processes involved in playing games” (p. 670) [37].

3. Lack of supporting resources: Teachers believe that there are not many materials for reference, such as educational game lists.

Counter-argument: There are many websites that provide lists of educational video games.

4. Scheduling: There is not enough time in the day to include video games.

Counter-argument: Some games can be used for just one class period instead of being played continuously over a long period of time. For example, River City is a curriculum-based game that can be completed in a single class block of 45 minutes [39]. It is at the teacher’s discretion as to how much time will be devoted to playing this game. In some studies, the students played River City for 6 class periods, carefully analyzing and immersing into the environment [39]. However, it should be noted that there are games available that are flexible in time constraints.

5. Limited school budget: Some schools may not have enough money to purchase the games and accessories required to run the video games.

Counter-argument: Video games and the accessories required to make them run can be shared amongst staff and students. Perhaps arranging a video game lab (like a computer lab) may be appropriate if most of the staff is on board with video game integration.

External educational game links

A Plus Games

Arcademic Skill Builders: Online Educational Video Games

BBC: Schools - Games


Class Brain Games

Cool math 4 kids - math games, math puzzles, math lessons.

Minecraft Edu

FlightGear - The Internet's #1 Education Site for K-8 Kids and Teachers



World Vision Games

World Maths Day

Serious games links


Food Force

Global Conflict: Palestine


Theory Spark



Third World Farmer

Discover Babylon

See also



Serious Game


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