Question Time with the Minister of Games

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My name is Robert Bell, and I am Enspire Studios’ Minister of Games. I have worked at Enspire as an instructional designer for nearly five years, during which time I have helped develop and pitch multiple games projects. As Minister of Games, I play a central role as one of Enspire Studios’ leading creative voices in the games and simulations we design, and I am constantly studying games and thinking about innovative ways that we can explore games-based learning.

Part of my role is to define and communicate our particular point of view on serious games – which, to be clear, are games designed with the intention to instruct. It is with this in mind that I hereby establish this post as a venue for discussing thoughts, observations, opinions, triumphs, and embarrassments in serious game analysis and design. I call it “Question Time” after the appointed period in parliament in which the Prime Minister and other government ministers respond to MPs’ burning questions. (I’ll add the disclaimer here that I am merely a minister, hardly prime).

With all that said, the first question for my first post is this one: really, what is a game? Although pretty much everyone has at one time played a game and there is much talk these days about the use of serious games in training and education, it’s not always clear to me that training and education professionals have a clear, basic understanding of what makes a game a game as opposed to any other type of learning experience (and make no mistake – pretty much all well-designed games are highly structured learning experiences). In the following posts I’ll begin to address this big question. Stay tuned.

Have any questions for me? Ask away in the comments!