Entertainment Computing and Serious Games

Volume 9970 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 17-41


A Brief History of Serious Games

  • Phil WilkinsonAffiliated withThe Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University Email author 

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Serious Games are now an established field of study. In this field most would attribute the rise of Serious Games to Clark C Abt’s creation of the term in 1970, or indeed Ben Sawyer’s popularization of it in 2002. However, considering the rich history of purposing non-digital games, itself preceded by discussions of purposing play that are traceable to the work of Plato, it can be said that Serious Games is a contemporary manifestation of centuries old theories and practices. In this chapter, we explore the pre-history of Serious Games, beginning with the suggested purpose, and purposing of play. Throughout this historical review we identify key in research and practice that are apparent in the contemporary Serious Games field.


Serious games Play Simulation-based learning Game-based learning Games for social change Games for health Playful learning