Chapter 4 : Identifying Types of Digital Games for Learning

This chapter identifies the different types of digital game available, discusses those that are most appropriate for different types of learning in higher education, and presents two emerging areas in educational gaming.


Gee, J. P. (2003). What Video Games have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan: an in-depth analysis of the potential of computer games for learning.

Oxland, K. 2004. Gameplay and Design. Harlow: Addison-Wesley: ch. 17 gives a short overview of the future of computer games.

Wolf. M. J. P. (2001). Genre and the video game. In M. J. P. Wolf (Ed.), The Medium of the Video Game (pp. 113-34). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press: this comprehensive discussion presents over 40 different genres of game.


Seeing the range of game genres that exist: Using one or more of the popular casual Internet gaming sites, examine the ways in which games types are classified online.

Analysing the types of learning that happen in games: Using one of the games introduced in Chapter 1, carry out an analysis of the types of learning that take place while playing the game.

Application of the definition: Apply your list of game characteristics to the three games provided as examples.

Screen Shots

The Longest Journey provides a rich interactive narrative (image reproduced with permission of Funcom)

The Bonte Room, a popular point-and-click adventure game (image reproduced with permission of Bart Bonte)

A mini-game within Nancy Drew and the Crystal Skull (image reproduced with permission of Her Interactive)

Bookworm develops vocabulary and spelling (image reproduced with permission of PopCap Games)

Guild Wars is a popular massively multi-player role playing game (image reproduced with permission of ArenaNet)

Kingdom of Loathing (image reproduced with permission of Asymmetric Publications, LLC)

Typer Shark (image reproduced with permission of PopCap Games)