Serious Games and Gamification

This article is part of a series on Playful Intelligence. Earlier this week we talked about the importance of play and now we want to dive deeper into the topic.
It’s important when we are talking about play to mention the difference between serious games and gamification since people often seem to confuse the two. We have seen a lot of different serious games in the past year such as Tako Dojo, Stall Catchers and Shadow’s Edge.
We have also been experimenting with a variety of games ourselves through the Game Solutions Lab. These games are all designed specifically to tackle a certain problem or teach the player a certain skill.
It is also important to note that serious games aren’t limited to just apps and PC games. The board game Influencing Influenza from our friends at Transmissible is also a great example of a serious game.
Gamification on the other hand is a much broader term. Gamification is the application of game design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. For example, a teacher using a point system with leaderboards to make their classes more interesting is gamification, despite not featuring any serious games. So, even if you aren’t seeing any serious games in your daily life yet gamification is everywhere.