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and most innovative ideas and is most likely to showcase examples of game play and techniques that can be adapted for a serious gaming purpose.

Younger employees tend to be enthusiastic volunteers for help in this area. Their aptitude can be assessed by asking them what their favorite games are and why, especially if they play across genres and can critique their favorite games well. Such employees can be very useful resources in a new serious games program.

When trying to find the right game studio partner, I recommend considering the following questions:

1. Do they “get” games?

Get the bios of the staff members who would work on your serious games project. Are they full of e-learning and instructional designers and no one else? What game engines do the staff have expertise with? Take a look at the games they have developed. Do they look engaging? Did the staff correctly match the right kind of game experience to what they are trying to teach, or did they instead create chocolate-covered broccoli—merely creating an attractive cover (gaming) for the necessary “nutrients” (the material to be learned)? Make sure the people on your project have an understanding of good game design. If they come from the entertainment gaming industry, why did they leave? If they think a great game is a multiple choice questionnaire, run toward the exit sign.

2. Do they get serious games?

The team members will need to have enough breadth to take a complex idea and make it accessible and engaging to the participants. If all they know is entertainment games, they may not have the skill set needed to work with serious content. The team’s bios should reveal whether the members have what it takes to understand, for example, molecular biology well enough to design an effective protein folding game.

3. What about the proximity of the vendor?

The Internet makes working virtually a lot easier, but there will be times when it will be most helpful to look over the designer’s shoulder—literally—during the design process. The selected team must be able to understand your vision for the game throughout the entire development process.

4. What types of game genre does the vendor specialize in?

Does the game studio specialize in the genre that makes the most sense for your game? If you are making a next-generation city sim game to explain water



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