A year in the GALA blog

2012 has been a great year for the GALA blog. In the first year of the project, the blog was setup and some posts were contributed, mostly from UNIGE and OUNL. However, as the first year ended, we decided to empower this blog and turn it into a steady stream of insightful reflections from all GALA members.

Remarkably, GALA has 31 active partners, including many of the most relevant research teams in Serious Games across Europe, along with bleeding-edge SMEs that are making an impact. It was to be expected that this kind of brain-power could produce a landmark blog.

And we were not wrong, looking back at the posts in 2012, we can be satisfied with our objectives.

Read more to learn about the emerging trends in 2012:

We have seen many posts describing interesting projects by different partners, recent research advances by partners (papers, PhDs completed, etc.) as well as discussion on new emergent trends.

Remarkably, part of the ongoing discussion within GALA on the scope of term Serious Games, and its relation with Gamification has been present in the blog. The initial blog seed dealing with gamification was posted by Wim Westera, who wondered whether gamification could be the next big thing. Later on, the topic received a lot more attention starting with a challenging post from Kam Star, on the devaluation of the term serious games. While not directly related, Antonio Brisson’s post also highlighted the importance of serious discussions about the relevance, objectives and aims of serious games in a specific domain, including reflections on whether a propaganda game is a serious game. Bartwin van der Pols also reflected on the narrow line between hype or real opportunities for serious games. Given that the main focus of GALA is on Serious Games, these discussions are very relevant, and Johann Riedel reflected on the importance of the term serious games, building on a brief summary on the history of the term “serious games” by Damien Djaouti. Also speaking in favour of serious games, Guisy Fiucci wrote a great post on the importance of good serious games.

The blog has also reflected some of the areas that are receiving a greater attention within GALA. For example, assessment was considered as one of the main challenges from the beginning of the project, and the ongoing research has driven a lot of attention to different forms of embedded/stealth assessment forms. Ángel Serrano posted in the blog some reflections on the adaptation of Learning Analytics techniques to the specific requirements and opportunities of serious games. On the same topic, Kristian Killi also reflected on the non-intrusive use of eye-tracking techniques for assessment purposes, while Silvia Kober reflected on other more advanced techniques to measure user response. The topic was later on studied by Rob Nadolski in a great post summarizing ongoing trends in seamless assessment.

All in all, a year of posts by all GALA members that truly reflect the current state of the serious games industry, including the latest projects, controversies and emerging research trends. Can’t help being excited about what we will see in the blog in 2013.

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