Integrating an Educational Game in a Museum Exhibition - Challenges and Limitations

Königschulte, Anke; Araújo, Leonardo Moura de; Erb, Ulrike
January 2010
Proceedings of the European Conference on Games Based Learning;2010, p194
Conference Proceeding
In contrast to developing educational games e.g. for schools, the development of games for museums has to meet even more limitations and specific requirements. These limitations concern the character of the game, its content, its location in the exhibition, its design and interface. In our paper, we present and discuss our experiences and drawbacks in developing an educational computer-based game for the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, a game dealing with the Hanseatic League and the old Hanseatic cog. This game was developed by Digital Media master students of the University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven in close cooperation with the responsible museum expert. Demanding a certain amount of the visitors' time and attention, a game risks competing with the exhibition rather than being part of it. Due to this context, the game design has to consider specific requirements and restrictions, concerning not only the game content that has to be (of course) true and serious but also the limited time available for playing, the flow and number of people as well as restrictions on size, sound and its location in the exhibition. Furthermore, a terminal game - in contrast to an exhibition guide - needs to be flexible enough to provide additional value for visitors at different phases of their museum visit: It needs both to engage visitors in applying knowledge acquired in the exhibition as well as to stimulate them exploring the environment more carefully after playing. Trying to master these challenges the game in this project was created in several development cycles, where game prototypes were reviewed by museum experts, tested by school children and optimized according to the evaluation results.


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