“Fake Fun: Transforming the Challenges of Learning to Play” by Guynup and Demmers

  • ©Steve Guynup and Jim Demmers




    Fake Fun: Transforming the Challenges of Learning to Play



    In the spring of 2004, a small first person shooter game engine was adapted to be the basis for a nonviolent educational game entitled “Go Fish”. Produced within the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) the project itself was surprisingly modest. The insight it generated into educational game design however, was remarkable. Structural differences between play and education became exposed. Resolving these differences, completing the project, and having it be both fun and educational required the merging of educational content into individual acts of play. What follows is an attempt to solve the problem of “Fake Fun”; the lack of enjoyment found in educational games. Bypassing the finer points of the narratology vs. ludology debate and remaining within conservative educational boundaries, we hope to provide simple, practical advice for those seeking to transform educational challenges into challenges of play.


    Support for the University of Baltimore’s research was provided by NSF grant EIA-0203323 and by gifts from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.


ACM Digital Library Publication:

Overview Page: