According to Ben Sawyer (Digital Mill) and Peter Smith (University of Central Florida), “Everyone has their own name for what serious games should be called. When they’re using these terms, they’re still talking about serious games… It’s not that these words are wrong. It’s just, they’re trying to categorize things. And there’s nothing categorical about any of these names.” Addressing this problem, Sawyer and Smith have developed a taxonomy of games — actually a number of interlocking, market-segmented taxonomies — which they presented at the Game Developers Conference this week. The slides (38mb .pdf file) can be downloaded here and are a big step forward from the unofficial draft that I reported on here last May, offering much clearer definitions and categorizations of the field. Further reporting on Sawyer and Smith’s GDC session can be found in Gamasutra and elsewhere if you Google “serious games taxonomy“.
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