The Importance of Learning How to Modify Games

Keep in mind that studying games by playing games is not a one-shot process. Sure, it’s straightforward enough to play a commercial game that’s designed exactly for your discipline, then take it to the classroom (and my list includes many of these games). But the real power and joy of game-based learning lies in understanding how to create your own gamed-up exercises. This will give you the ability to gameify any of your existing lessons.

That’s what you (and your colleagues) must play the games in my “Games for Modifying” category, so you can talk about how to export their best features. On the other hand, I would be misleading you if I didn’t state the following caveat: it takes a lot of hard thinking to figure out exactly how to connect the mechanics from games into your own teaching exercises. The good news is that when you get a bunch of adults (or even students) in a room, the sheer process of even attempting to do this ends up being, as the kids say, “the hardest kind of fun.” Still, if you’re a manager or faculty organizer who is committed to providing as in-depth a training experience as possible, you should bring in a workshop leader with a deep understanding of game-based learning pedagogy. Like yours truly. You could also use an interactive card game that I designed specifically for teaching people how to make educational games, then follow it up with one or two hours of playing and studying published games (i.e. the games on my list here). I do workshops that utilize this fun format as well.