By Rose Jensen
Serious games are making the news almost every day. From teaching children about the cancer in their bodies to helping college students reinforce lessons from their business classes, these educational games take playing to a whole new level. Take a look at these 50 sites for serious and educational games you can play. No matter what you may be studying in college, there is a good chance that these educational games can enhance your learning or help you teach others.
Business and Management
From practicing your business skills to learning about book keeping in your courses at online colleges for accounting, these games will help you get a handle on your business school lessons.
- EVE Online. Practice running the most powerful company in the world so you can sharpen your skills for management in the real world.
- Informatists. This popular business simulation game helps you learn and polish business skills. Whether you are a practiced business professional, an entrepreneur getting your feet wet, or in online colleges for business administration, this game will help you practice strategies and learn to succeed without a high risk of failure.
- Gazillionaire Deluxe. Used in colleges to teach business, math, and economics, this game teaches about supply and demand.
- Ports of Call. This old classic has a 3D face lift. Play this game to build your shipping fleet wisely and learn plenty about economics while you play.
- Fistful of Dollars. Set against a space backdrop, this game teaches players about managing working capital.
- Robo Rush. Start out selling your robots door-to-door, then upgrade to a storefront and a factory.
- The EIS Simulation. Designed at the Center for Advanced Learning Technologies, this game challenges players to become a part of a team that will introduce an innovation and convince 22 members of the management team to accept the innovation.
- Innov8. This simulation game from IBM provides players a chance to sharpen their business acumen with three different scenarios focusing on smarter traffic, smarter customer service, and smarter supply chains.
Games for Students
These games bring powerful first-hand experience to students with games ranging from early elementary to high school and focusing on everything from science to civic responsibility. Even though these are designed for students, many are worthwhile for players of any age.
- PowerUp. Learn about science and the environment with this game. A bonus here is students with learning disabilities, visual impairments, and fine motor difficulties can play this game with features made especially for them.
- Nanoquest. Designed to get 13-15 year-old students interested in nanotechnology and science, this game has the two main characters going on miniaturized adventures while learning about physics, chemistry, and biology.
- Cool School. Younger elementary students can explore social, communication, and problem-solving skills with this game. Rewards include virtual trophies as well as useful conflict resolution knowledge.
- Lure of the Labyrinth. This math game has middle school students finding lost pets by solving puzzles. Teachers can take advantage of the professional development section of the website to use the game in class. Students lured by the appeal of this game'sÂ visual architectureÂ might also be interested in online colleges forÂ game design.
- WolfQuest. Students as young as 4th grade all the way up can enjoy this science-based game that lets players learn what it's like to live life as a wolf in Yellowstone National Park.
- Quest Atlantis. Designed to help students aged 9-16 gain invaluable knowledge as well as develop empathy, this game challenges players to complete quests as they go through virtual villages.
- Supreme Decision. The first in a series of games being developed by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor teaching students about civics through real court cases they get to choose, investigate, and argue, Supreme Decision lets players learn about student rights, possibly even leading to interest in a higher education atÂ online colleges for law.
- Betwixt Folly and Fate. This 3D role-playing game provides students an opportunity to experience life as an enslaved house servant, a freed slave, a white woman, and a white man in 1774 Williamsburg. Culture and history combine in this game aimed at middle-school students.
- ElectroCity. Created in New Zealand for middle-school aged students, ElectroCity teaches about energy, environment, and more as the students build and manage their own towns.
- eLECTIONS. Students can role-play as a presidential candidate in this game. Go up against other students, a teacher, parent, or the computer, then print out a report card to see how well you performed.
- Global Conflicts: Latin America. For students aged 13-19, this role-playing game teaches students about the social and political climate of Latin America as they work through five different missions.
- Global Warming Interactive. High school students can learn about the impact political, economic, and scientific decisions have on the global climate with this interactive game.
From the Army to the Navy to handling emergencies to disarming situations non-violently, these games all focus on training for the real deal. Students at online colleges for homeland security can have fun while also learning valuable information about handling missions.
- America's Army. Used as a recruitment and training tool by the US Army, this game lets players try out virtual missions.
- CyberCIEGE. Designed by the US Navy, this game teaches about network security. Players purchase and configure workstations, servers, operating systems, and more, then try to keep it all secure while also balancing budget and productivity factors.
- Triage Trainer. This game from Blitz Game Studios helps train those who respond to emergencies learn to set protocols and prioritize casualties.
- A Force More Powerful. Only available on DVD, this game is a non-violent strategy game that teaches players how to use non-violent tactics to disarm potentially violent situations, possible even useful as conflict resolution at online colleges for social work.
Health and Medical Games
Whether helping young adults get a handle on their diabetes or teaching children about food safety, these games all offer education for secondary students, as well as those in online colleges for healthcare managementÂ or just beginningÂ their careers, when it comes to health and medicine.
- Fatworld. Learn how nutrition, socioeconomics, and US culture are connected in this game. Select health condition predispositions, menus, exercise, and more to discover surprising results.
- HumanSim. This game allows health care professionals to practice rare, complex, or high-risk procedures virtually, rather than on actual people so they can become skilled and ready when a human really needs help.
- Food Detectives Fight BAC!. Learn about food safety while playing these simple games. With shooting games, matching games, and more, learn important facts about preventing food-borne illnesses.
- The Magi and the Sleeping Star. Geared to both adolescents and adults with Type 1 diabetes, players are in charge of the young hero of the game, who has Type 1 diabetes and must get control of his blood sugar level. Players earn abilities and power-ups as they manage their own real-life blood sugar levels.
- Foldit. Due to the huge number of ways proteins can fold, it would take an extraordinary amount of time and money to pay researchers to understand all the variables in their search for cures for diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer's. This game allows anyone who wants to help to do so by downloading and playing Foldit, which is similar to puzzle solving.
- Re-Mission. This shooter game provides players with an opportunity to shoot malignant cancer cells. Designed by teens and young adults facing cancer themselves, this game provides those affected by cancer an opportunity to feel some control over their cancer.
- Immune Attack. Designed for middle, high school, and entry-level college students, this game teaches about the human immune system. It has been a popular tool in schools to get students interested in science and research.
Humanitarian and Environmental Games
Save the world and save the environment with these awesome and inspiring games.
- Darfur is Dying. Players must keep their refugee camp going despite the threat of the militia in this game that teaches about the plight of the 2.5 million refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan.
- Food Force. Inspired and designed by the same people who created FreeRice, this game helps teach about feeding the hungry. While it is aimed at high school students, it has caught on as a popular game for adults as well. It is available in English as well as 16 other languages.
- 3rd World Farmer. Run a farm in Africa against the backdrop of poverty and conflict. Developed by IT students in Copenhagen in 2005, the game continues to undergo development to keep it current. A Spanish language version was released late last year.
- LogiCity. Designed to help young people under 25 learn to reduce their carbon footprint, LogiCity lets players experiment with various actions to see the effects on the world.
- Deliver the Net. This game is part of the Nothing But Nets program that provides mosquito nets to help combat malaria. Play this game and help deliver the nets virtually and in reality.
- Karma Tycoon. Learn to build non-profits through loans and grants, providing the non-profits with basics, and saving lives. This strategy game is non-violent and promotes learning about both business and community.
- Stop Disasters. Hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes are happening and you need to prevent disaster from striking. Just like in real life, there is no right answer, so your game will be different each time you play.
- McDonald's Video Game. Choose your language, then dive into this game that teaches about the harmful effects of fast food with a heavy dose of irony.
- A Tale in the Desert 4. Set in ancient Egypt, this massively multiplayer online role playing game has a focus on economic and community development. This game is one of the few MMORPGs that includes no combat at all.
Don't just grumble about politicians, jump in and see what they face everyday with these games. Maybe you'll be inspired to go into politics.
- World Without Oil. Play this game to get a feel for what life might be like during the first 32 weeks of a global oil crisis. With an eye on economic, climate, and quality-of-life issues, this game raises awareness of the unhealthy dependency on oil.
- Democracy 2. Learn politics with this strategy game that has players making decisions such as implementing green policies, raising or lowering taxes, creating harmonious foreign relations, and more.
- President Forever 2008. Run for president in this game where you'll learn about primaries, general elections, and more. Play 2008 or one of the past elections, including Bush-Gore 2000, Regan-Carter 1980, Nixon-Kennedy 1960, or US 2012.
- Ars Regendi. Learn politics and economics in this multiplayer game. Reign over your own state, form alliances with other countries, and more as you learn the intricacies of ruling a country.
- The ReDistricting Game. This 3D game teaches about the impact of districting on politics. Redraw your districts and see the impact, learn how it works, and see how abuse happens with The ReDistricting Game.
- Peacemaker. Play this game to see what the balance of power feels like. Choose the right path and you will bring peace to the Middle East or make the wrong choices and create a violent disaster.
Sites with Multiple Games
These sites offer plenty of serious and educational games that touch on a variety of topics from literature to social awareness.
- Nobel Prize Educational Games. From treating a diabetic dog to blood typing to Lord of the Flies, these games run the gamut from literature to science and everywhere in between.
- Thinking Worlds. Try the demo games here for a sample of the educational games available through Thinking World.
- Super Smart Games. The games here range from academic to health and fitness to social awareness and are available on multiple platforms and for all different age groups.
- Filament Games. The games here are dedicated to teaching concepts and subjects in a hands-on manner. Topics range from science to civics and challenge players to think through problems and have fun at the same time.