Mouse | From Serious Games to Impact Games: Why language matters

April 21, 2020

From Serious Games to Impact Games: Why language matters

Mouse believes that learning should be playful, and that creating games can be just as powerful of an experience as playing them.

But games don’t just matter, the words we use to talk about games matter as well. All projects in Mouse Serious Games course have been updated and the course itself has been renamed the Impact Game Design course.

Why change the name?

There’s a number of different reasons why we are changing the conversation to “impact games”:

  • ”Serious” can be misinterpreted as “boring” or “not fun.” Sometimes impact games have a dark or somber tone, it’s true, but many do not. Impact games are still games, they are fun!
  • ”Serious” can be misinterpreted “intense” or “experienced.” While we welcome “hardcore” gamers to the world of impact games, we want to welcome casual and new gamers as well.
  • All kinds of games have impact. While games made by organizations and indie developers are important, all play has value and can be used in a positive way. What’s important is the change or learning left on the player or the world.

How does this affect the course?

  • Only the name of the course and references to the concept of “serious” games within each project have been updated with new language.
  • The learning objectives and game design activities within each project have not changed.

What if I’m doing the Games for Change Student Challenge

For educators in the Games for Change Student Challenge program in a Spotlight City you probably won’t notice anything, since we had already changed the name of the course to Impact Game Design (and we included a few new projects just for G4C educators!)

  • New projects: An educator facing handbook, a student introduction to the Challenge and a guide to submitting their final game to the G4C judge
  • New resources: Play games that took home prizes in previous years, peer review worksheets to give out

For more information about Serious and Impact games as well as courses please reach out to


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