Introduction to Educational Game
Design & Development

History of Electronic Games

1950s - Origin

The first electronic games were not played at home or even at video arcades. Instead, research departments at universities, labs, military installations, and defense contractors provided the backdrop for this industry. At military bases, electromechanical games were provided for recruiting and training purpose. Faculty and students at universities developed video games to hone their programming skills or entertain each other.

1960s - Arcade

The public was first introduced to electronic games not through home game consoles or personal computers, but through public arcades. In 1961, MIT student Steve Russel developed the first interactive computer game - Spacewar! Nolan Bushnell, who later founded Atari, saw the game and decided to bring it to a larger market by adapting it into a stand-alone arcade coin-op game.

1970s - The Birth of Console Games

In 1972, the first home game console - Magnavox Odyssey - was released. However, the Odyssey was ahead of its time due to the high price tag and immature market. Until the late 1970s, the home console industry finally began to take shape.

1980s - Golden Age of Video Games

Nintendo's entry into the console business in 1985 breathed new life into the home gaming industry. The system was far superior to consoles of the previous era, and the titles were graphically advanced, such as Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Tetris.

1990s - The "Big Three" Console Wars

Personal Computers

Portable Console Systems

Educational Games

Games are developed for a variety of purposes, and pure entertainment is just one of them. By definition, educational games are those created to teach while they entertain. These games feature in-game knowledge acquisition where knowledge of certain topics is taught or accessed within the game itself.  In a game setting, students receive immediate feedback on their performance in a problem-solving activity. This is an environment that inherently encourages active learning, which students tend to take more ownership of knowledge when they acquire it through a dynamic interactive experience.

Promo Video 0f X-Plane

Screenshot of Kinect Games

Screenshot of What's my IQ?

Standard Game Development Process


  1. Pitch
  2. Concept
  3. Game design document
  4. Prototype


  1. Plot production
  2. Design
  3. Programming
  4. Level creation
  5. Visual art production
  6. Audio production
  7. Testing
  8. First playable
  9. Alpha stage
  10. Code freeze
  11. Beta stage
  12. Code release
  13. Gold master


  1. Maintenance
  2. Assessment

Essentials of Game Design

When designing games for learning, developers should create:

  1. Strong identities that learners can create or inhabit (e.g., being a certain type of scientist or hero).
  2. Immersive experiences that naturally cause people to learn important things by living through and actively thinking about the experience.
  3. Make the meanings of words, concepts, and symbols concrete through experiences and actions.
  4. Well-ordered problem spaces, which give meaningful practice that eventually makes skills routine, and then challenges that routinization with a new higher-level problem. Give learners plenty of opportunity to interact both within and outside the game
  5. Encourage learners to talk and think about their experiences outside the game (e.g., debrief them about their strategies).