What are Knowledge Games?
How should we define knowledge games? Is this something new? Or are knowledge games a new term for an old phenomenon?
Most games are primarily used for entertainment and leisure purposes--which is great! But there are also a growing category of games with a new purpose: that of generating new knowledge for society. Instead of games that teach you something we already know, these games produce new knowledge that is not yet known or accessible. So, instead of a game teaching you about gravity, these types of games might teach you about an undiscovered physics property.
Currently there are a few dozen games that help to produce new knowledge, data, analysis, and problem solving. But what should we call them? Sometimes they are called citizen science games, but this is too narrowly focused on science knowledge. Sometimes we call them GWAPs (games with a purpose), but this seems too broad. For instance, what is the purpose? It could be knowledge, but the purpose could be entertainment--or more!
Sometimes they are considered Games for Change, but this conflates it with the Games for Change movement and organization. They have also been called Engagement Games and Social Participation Games. (None are quite right, however, these games could be a subtype of these categories).
I am calling them "knowledge games" because the primary purpose of these games is to generate new knowledge. We could call them other terms, such as Innovation Games, but I argue that "knowledge games" is the most precise.
What do you think?