Meaningful Play

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  • Title: Meaningful Play: Students Creating “Serious” Analog Games
  • Author(s): Mark Mabrito
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education
  • Keywords: Serious Games, Analog Games, Game-based Learning
  • Volume: 26
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2327-7955 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8749 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Mabrito, Mark. 2019. "Meaningful Play: Students Creating “Serious” Analog Games." The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education 26 (2): 73-90. doi:10.18848/2327-7955/CGP/v26i02/73-90.
  • Extent: 18 pages


Educators are becoming interested in incorporating game-based learning in their classrooms. Emphasis typically is on using existing games as teaching/training tools; however, encouraging students to create their own games can present distinct advantages and leverage critical thinking, writing, and instructional design skills in unique ways. While many approaches focus on digital games, analog games (for example, tabletop games such as board games and card games) are a viable option, as they require no programming skills and can be produced for very little cost. An approach for designing a “serious” analog game from initial concept to finished prototype was integrated into an undergraduate course for liberal arts majors. The project was well received by students and resulted in the successful creation of a variety of board and card games on different topics.