Week 4 has two main requirements: your reflection and the Game Review project.

1 Gaming Reflection

Instructions for this reflection are a little different.

  • Play two games from https://iCivics.org
  • Compare the games and write a post about it in the #etcv411-module4 channel.
  • Include:
    • General subject of the games
    • Actions you take in the games
    • Arguments the game are making and how they makes them
    • What makes each game fun (or not!)
    • Pick at least one aspect of each game that stands out
  • At least 4 paragraphs/500 words (more than the normal requirement as per the reflection rubric)

Remember to put the content of your Slack post in the Reflection - Games dropbox.

1.1 Evaluation

This rubric1 is used in reference to reflections you’ll be posting in Slack based on the readings and class discussions. Note that the different areas are graded slightly differently (with length being clearly segmented, mechanics being all-or-nothing, and the rest being fluid). Some assignments might have specific requirements that supercede these, so pay close attention.

Criteria Score (points vary from 0-2)
Length 500 words or more
Meaning Post provides explanation, explication, and examples to develop ideas.
Focus Stays on topic (or strays when appropriate), develops a clear statement or asks a clear question, written with audience in mind.
Support Provides at least two external resources to back up statements or contrast ideas. Does not mention references without citing/linking. Proper APA citations
Mechanics No grammatical or spelling errors. Proper sentence structure. Easy to read. (2 pts., all or nothing)

2 Serious Game Review Project

2.1 Introduction

Playing and evaluating games is one thing, but sometimes you need something a bit bigger. For that, we will be doing critical game reviews of serious games!


2.2 Steps to Completion

Choose a serious game or simulation that is intended to persuade, educate, inform, improve health, etc., preferably one that we haven’t touched on in class (and, no, Goat Simulator doesn’t count). I’m not giving you a list to choose from. You’ll need to do some Google Fu to find one you like. Here’s a good definition of serious game:

Electronic games whose main purpose is “serious” and not to simply entertain. The primary “serious” purposes can be to teach or train in areas such as education, health care, advertising, politics, etc.

2.2.1 The Review Part

The items below are a template for your submission. Answer eveything in detail!

Play through the game or simulation as fully as possible and put together a well-written review that covers the following topics:

  1. Basic Topics (roughly two paragraphs)
    1. Who created it?
    2. What genre of game is it?
    3. What devices can you play it on?
    4. What is the premise/theme?
    5. What is the player’s goal?
  2. Gameplay (roughly 2-3 paragraphs – include subheadings)
    1. What actions are available to the player?
    2. What does the game look like?
    3. What is the interface like? (How does the player interact?)
    4. Do the game’s rules make sense considering the theme?
  3. Educational Potential (roughly two paragraphs)
    1. Could you use this game to teach?
    2. What could you teach?
    3. How?
    4. Has anyone used this game to teach before?

The Basic Information portion should clock in at around two paragraphs. The Gameplay section around 2-3 with sub-headings, and the Educational Potential section also at around two paragraphs. For an example of a well-constructed review that would earn full marks, see this review of My Spanish Coach on the Nintendo DS.

2.2.2 Submission

  1. With your submission, include at least three screenshots that illustrate some of the important mechanics, screens, interface elements, etc. These should be captioned to describe what’s going on.

  2. Submit to both the D2L dropbox and the Slack #etcv411-modules channel by the deadline: a post that reviews a game and includes all of the above (submit a PDF to D2L). Alternative: you may link to a Google Document in the Slack channel and submit a PDF of that Google Document to D2L. (To save a Google Document as a PDF go to File -> Download as… -> PDF. Late submissions will not be accepted.


2.3 Evaluation

Gateway requirements: assignment includes everything in the list above. Use it as a checklist for your content.

Note: you may receive 0 points in any category below for simply not addressing it.

2.3.1 Rubric2

1 point 3 points 5 points
Organization / Format / Grammar / Etc Submission clearly needs editing. Difficult or awkward to read. Submission could use some extra work on organization or visual clarity. Some errors, but minor. Easy to read, well organized, clear, with very few, if any, spelling or grammar errors.
Screenshots Three or more screenshots are included but are of poor quality or do not provide a meaningful addition to the review. Three or more screenshots are included but related explanations are shallow or confusing. Are not located near the topic they’re illustrating. Three or more screenshots are included that showcase important aspects of the game. Include captions, descriptions, and are placed appropriately. Text references them accordingly.
Analysis Analysis of the systems and mechanics that comprise gameplay is absent or shallow. Does not explain how the player interacts with the game. Does not address the fitness of the game’s genre, mechanics and presentation for the serious content. Analysis of the systems and mechanics that comprise gameplay is limited. Explains the game’s interface, but not clearly or fully. Addresses the alignment of theme and gameplay in a shallow manner. Analysis of the systems and mechanics that comprise gameplay is extensive and detailed. Explains how the player plays the game, and what he or she can do within it. Thoughtfully addresses the unity of theme and gameplay.
Presentation of Ideas Language is awkward, imprecise, or confusing. Ideas are not organized in a logical fashion. One or more required sections is missing. Language is awkward or otherwise distracting in places. Ideas are generally well-organized, but there are some jarring transitions. Language flows smoothly and expresses ideas eloquently. Ideas are organized in a logical fashion which advances the argument being made.

You can download this page as a PDF.


  1. Adapted from Charles Youngs’ Rubric to a Blog.

  2. Adapted from Lieberman, M. (2013).

Copyright © 2019 Ryan Straight. All rights reserved.