Article Three : Origins of Serious Games

DJAOUTI Damien, ALVAREZ Julian, JESSEL Jean-Pierre, RAMPNOUX Olivier, Origins of Serious Games, IRIT Toulouse II, Ludoscience, European Centre for Children’s Products, Springer, 2011.
Document link here.


This article, written in 2011 by Damien Djaouti, Julian Alvarez, Jean-Pierre Jessel, Olivier Rampnoux, is about the historical origins of serious games.
Serious Games is an oxymoron appear in 1951.
The autors explain that the current definition of Serious Games is what Sawyer & Rejeski describe in 2002. Now, the definition is like Michael & Chen explain in 2005 « games that do not have entertainment, enjoyment or fun as their primary purpose ». It’s the case of « America’s Army, the first successful serious game that gained total public awareness.
Before than, serious games were primary marked in books. The first video game used for serious purposes was on the Manchester Mark I computer, created by Ferranti in 1951. There was a chess game that can play against a human.
During the Cold War, the U.S. army invested a lot of money in research. They want to train their military officers around the world. Early video games designed to train professionals, specially in the army.
After that, early video games designed to broadcast a message. Higinbotham, a recognised physicist, made a video game about the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the 60s.
Autors say that it can be argued that entertainment video games only appeared after the first digital Serious Games.
The third part of the article is about Education with the first game used like this : The Oregon Trail, released in 1978 with a graphical version in open-source format. The game disappear many years and come back in force thats to mobile phone versions and a Facebook application.
There is not necessary an opposition between educational/serious and popular/commercial successful.

I think it’s the same choose with Minecraft. It’s a successful popular game but also a great tool for Education. This mix is needed to get interest from public and our children with a serious usage.
And the last information is that the part of education usage in serious games decreased progressively to the advertising part which increased a lot since the last 15 years.

Autors didn’t write about the difference between a serious games and news games. The last one have the aim to inform population about something serious untreated well on medias. For exemple, September 12th is a news game about the paradigm of heart-strike and excessive terrorism in population.
It’s a nice article to discovered the origins of serious games but these is a lack of distinction between news games and serious games. Also, the Education part is a bit short and need to be in relation with others research in Education.




Vocabulary :

oxymoron : oxymore
the scope : la portée
light-hearted humour : humour léger
Devoid of meaning : vide de sens
anecdotal : anecdotique
warm reception : accueil chaleureux
retail versions : version au détail (en boite)
strengthen : renforcer
Leisure : loisir
proof-reading : relecture