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Kick-off meeting of the focus area Game Research of Utrecht University

Monday 30 of June toke place the kick-off meeting of the interdisciplinary and interfacultary focus area Game Research of GaLA partner Utrecht University. Games play an increasingly important role in (arts) education, healthcare, safety, creative industries, and other economic, cultural, and societal sectors. It is a “game changing” phenomenon. The unique position of UU in gaming will be reinforced and used as a lever to expand scope, quality, volume, and impact of its research and education.

All UU groups involved in game research contribute to this focus area, from disciplines such as computer science, humanities, social sciences. Together, these groups form the Utrecht Center for Game Research and Technology (U-GATE, The research and education in the center address aspects of game research, such as the design, development, and application of serious games and simulations. During the kick-off meetingpartners were informed about the plans of the focus area Game Research of Utrecht University, and examples of game related activities at UU were presented.

You can find more information about the Focus Area Game Research of Utrecht University and its activities at:

Play the Past

developer: Minnesota Historical Society

genre: puzzle(augmented visit)

educational purpose: history

target audience: grades 4-6

H&H taxonomy class: historical reconstruction

release date: 2013

platforms: mobile



Gold winner of the 2014 International Serious Play award, Play the Past is demonstrating how museums can use technology with large numbers of students to create self-directed, collaborative, and responsive fieldtrip experiences. The program content is aligned with national and state academic standards. The technology allows students to have deeper engagement with museum content, during the fieldtrip itself and through follow-on classroom activities.

Each student gets a brief video orientation to the exhibit and applications and checks into the exhibit using a QR code and a mobile device to set up a personalized account. Students use an in-gallery mobile app to embark on quests in which they solve challenges based on the experience of real Minnesotans in the past. The quests are tied to one of the exhibit’s interactive explorations or “hubs” focused on the fur trade, iron mining, and life in a sod house.

The items students scan or collect during the game are stored in digital backpacks. All of the items in the students' digital backpacks are downloadable and re-usable and have information and links for further research and deeper exploration. Students also digitally record their experiences by taking pictures, recording audio, and capturing notes for later classroom activities. Teachers use a web application to access their students’ accounts and share collected content for classroom follow-on, like the production of presentations, videos, posters, websites, stories, or blogs.





developer: Caspian Learning

genre: role playing

educational purpose: teach about money management and credit.

target audience: 10-11 years old

H&H taxonomy class: Personal Skills (make decisions, planning and organization) Social Awareness (Economic Behaviors)

web page:

release date: 2008

platform: Windows (desktop)

In Creditability players can play four different virtual and situational environments: university, shopping, TV studios and village. Within any of these environments the player will have to complete a set of tasks face diverse challenges related to money, credit and debt. Throughout the game and based on the supporting information players will learn what is credit, debt, insolvency and how to perform budgeting, credit related decisions, analyze credit reports. Beyond these the player is also made aware of how to identify fraudulent situations and avoid being a victim or even when to ask for help.

Creditability screenshot


Europe 2045

developer: Generation Europe

genre: simulation

educational purpose: provide support for school education of social sciences and help players to learn about the issues (political, economic and social) that arise from a united Europe.

target audience: High School Students

H&H taxonomy class: Personal Skills (strategic thinking, make decisions, planning and organization, adaptation to changes, initiative / proactiveness, problem solving) Interpersonal Skills (team work, conflict management, multicultural sensitivity) Social Awareness (social responsibility, health, environment, education, cultural)

web page:

release date: 2008

platform: browser (flash)

In this game the player learns many facts about Europe’s policy. Beyond that the player must also develop diverse skills in order to have a good performance in its role within the game. The player embodies the role of an EU member state and must manage his/her country’s domestic policy ranging from subsidies, tax levels and environment to same sex marriage legalization and privacy protection. Additionally the player also has to perform a diplomatic role in which he/she can propose policy changes at the European level. Throughout the game several temporary crisis situation are presented to the player to challenge its ability to resolve them at both the domestic and European level.

Europe 2045 screenshot

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