Video games can be a fantastic learning tool, but there's a challenge when designing games that strive to be both educational and fun. But what is fun? GlassLab's Erin Hoffman learned this after presenting SimCity to a group of students.
"We put the game in front of kids all by themselves in a school setting and they said: 'well this is pretty fun but we're not learning anything,'" explains Hoffman. "It was really surprising that kids in that particular setting were hungry for learning."
In this 2015 GDC talk, Hoffman presents a new theory of "fun," by positing fun as shorthand for a very complex psychological process by which humans convert stress into satisfaction through insight.
Hoffman describes the concept of "fun" in relation to learning, a concept which she calls 'sophia', which is what she's dubbed the 'game-learn' emotion. She breaks down games by emotions and explains how 'sophia' relates to each genre.
Designers can now watch the talk completely free via the official GDC YouTube channel!
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