Video Games


I have spent a considerable amount of time studying (yes, yes, and playing) games, for a number of reasons. First, the game industry is the source of some of the data I use for my current research. Secondly, I am very interested in the ways that games can be used to train, teach, and persuade, especially in the business world.

Some resources that might be of interest:

  • The website for my book, Changing the Game, has a significant amount of introductory material on games and business.
  • I was recently quoted in an article in the Chicago Tribune about games for financial literacy, referring to the game Celebrity Calamity, developed by D2D, which I assisted.
  • I have also worked on some projects with DARPA on games and training, notably Ambush! and Dark Waters
But what if you’ve never played a game before, or hate games, but want to see what the fuss is about?  Some suggestions, based on potential interests below:Focus on Fun


A good game is one with an underlying design that keeps you engaged, regardless of the subject.  To understand gameplay, consider these games:

  • In one minute… Experience the compelling nature of even pared-down games by playing Boomshine.
  • In five minutes… Try out another fun game mechanic with Dolphin Olympics.
  • In thirty minutes… Try one of the first (popular) “casual” massively multiplayer online games launched in the US: Puzzle Pirates

Focus on Impact

One of the points we make in our book is that games have a tremendous power to motivate action, productivity and learning.

  • In one minute… Help label the images of the web with a round of Google Image Labeler, an example of making work fun, labeling tens of millions of images with free labor.
  • In five minutes… Try a game that teaches financial literacy to lower-middle income individuals with ame Celebrity Calamity or take a look at an “artsy” advergame: BMW’s PACE.
  • In thirty minutes… Experience America’s Army, the US Army’s recruiting game, costing .25% of the Army’s recruiting budget, but with more impact than all other recruiting methods combined.

Focus on Meaning


Games, when done right, can be an incredibly immersive art form, one which can be subtle, or haunting, or political in nature.  Some examples:

  • In one minute… See how a game can make a simple persuasive (if controversial) argument by checking out September 12.
  • In five minutes… Experience a seemingly simple, and ultimately unsettling, example of an art game with Every Day the Same Dream.
  • In thirty minutes… Play a platformer turned into a beautiful and enigmatic adventure with Small Worlds.