Throughout the process of designing my two most influential games (two card games entitled Linkage: A DNA Card Game and another called Peptide: A Protein Building Game which is currently being funded on Kickstarter) I had to do a LOT of research on game design – and more specifically educational game design.
I’ve read tons of blogs on educational game design and after doing so, a few things have become apparent. There’s a lot of baggage that comes with using the term “educational” in conjunction with the word “game.” Educational games have a rap as either being fruitfully educational at the expense of fun, or fruitlessly entertaining at the expense of any credible learning content. I have even heard some critics vouch that these two attributes are mutually exclusive and games cannot succeed at both.
I would agree that there are very concrete hurdles inherent in creating a system of play that is also simultaneously entertaining and educational, and I think this is the case for a number of reasons. But I’ll try and come back to that in a later post. For now, I would like to offer some ideas and basic insights that I have used in the design process to successfully overcome many of these hurdles.
Here are a number of basic design insights that I use in designing my games:
Educational Game Design Topic #3 – Keep the Mechanics Simple