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A systemic Approach to Serious Gaming

Serious Gaming deploys game technology to enable observable personal growth by exploiting its typical entertainment and interpretation attributes

Serious Gaming deploys games and game technology to further personal growth. As such a game is a tool that enables the growth of an organisation and its constituent members. Wether the game instantiates improvisational play (paida) or regulated gaming (ludus) is irrelevant Caillois:1961. In both cases the game provides interaction and triggers amongst other curiosity, mastering, autonomy etc. The interaction and interpretation part Raessens:2005 marriages with the engagement part into fun, the core driver of serious gaming Koster:2005.

Serious Gaming as a system thus exploits different properties of games. To give some examples

  • a game may coach a player to exercise specific skills
  • a game may encourage a player to maintain a trainings program
  • a game may trigger a player to experiment with different perspective and interpretation of a situation
  • a game may provide specific experiences to a player

The first two modi of uses two typically referred to as in-game learning, the third mode of use is referred to through-game learning, whereas the last resemble beyond-game learning, where the actual growth comes from debriefing.

The Serious Gaming Architect

The serious gaming architect bonds the real world situation and the growth trajectory, using the game as a tool to efficacious means. The gaming system has a complex set of properties in order to support the subject (player) and his coach (player or facilitator). The gaming properties include context and location, activities such as construction and de-construction, interactions, challenges, and many more. Some of these properties are materialised in a the game, others in the play, and the remaining in the transfer to the real world situation.

Roles and Domains of expertise

The above perspective on serious gaming can be mapped on an established development model: the [V-model]. As result 6 distinct roles emerge and four different domains of expertise. See figure below



Serious Gaming fills the gap between a Game Studio and an Organisation in need for sustainable change, Under condition dedicated aspects of change can be implemented using games, gaming, and transfer. Where the game is the tool to create concrete gaming experiences that can be sustained through an explicit transfer process.


The domain that articulates the content and process too instigate change. Being a sustained change in behaviour, an adapted attitude or more modest compliance. Next to the content it also provides success indicating behaviours and measures.


The domain that bonds two separate domains by means of innovation. It brings new users to a the game technology domain and new technology to the organisation domain, while assuring implementation and observable outcomes.


The domain that creates a metaphorical context to implement change processes and domain content. These resulting interaction models facilitate the creation of concrete gaming experiences

Game Studio

The domain that develops a game to the specifications of the interaction and facilitation model.


The subsequent roles emerge from the system approach on serious gaming. Their individual impact on the success of the eventual transfer depends on the organisation of the system and the use of game (and simulation) technology. Only is truly large projects will their balance out. In some projects roles may even be automated.

Learning architect

The expert who defines content and process of the change system

Gaming architect

The expert who transforms change content into interaction patterns

System architect

The expert who maintains the consistency and many -ilities of the system (realizability, maintainability, usability, effectivity, ...).

Game Developer

The expert who creates the tool for the facilitator, i.e., the game

Gaming Facilitator

The expert who deploys the game to create an experience for the player that instantiates a change in behaviour, or change in attitude, or compliance.

Learning Interpreter

The expert who makes the results tangible for the organisation in transition.

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