Game Educators Handbook

Year of production: 2014

Game Educators Handbook is intended as an aid for all types of game educators. The target group consists of parents, schools, libraries, youth organisations, and anyone with connections to children, adolescents or adults that play digital games.

The aim is to provide expert information, based on research and experience, about what gaming and related phenomena are all about.

This book is a cooperation between gamers, game designers, game educators, researchers and people working with problem gaming, thereby striving for a neutral, objective and helpful end result. When it comes to gaming (as a hobby, a sport, a profession or a potential source of trouble) there’s so much bias, so many correct or false perceptions, and conflicting comments that we together want to offer an easily approachable guide. Youth workers and practitioners engaging with the handbook are expected to have a better understanding of what gaming is all about, why it interests people, why it’s addictive, and why it’s at the same time good in many ways.

Any form of voluntary activity with collective rules, that includes performing challenging and worthwhile tasks with a distinctive goal or end result, can be regarded as a game. Some like to make a clear distinction between a game and play, or a game and sports, whereas others think they’re all part of the same continuum. Seen from a researcher’s perspective Monopoly, Super Mario Galaxy, slot machines, playing catch and a boxing match are various forms of gaming. In this book the main focus is on digital games: games that can be played on computers, video game consoles, smartphones and other devices. When we use the term “gamer” it is being referred to individuals that at least occasionally play digital games, even though they may not define themselves as gamers.

The Handbook will cover, amongst other things, game education, age ratings, game designing, the relationship between games and money, games as teaching aids and games in everyday life. In the last part of this book you will find exercises and practical tips for independent exploration of games, as well as a list of sources for suitable additional information about each subject in this book.


J. Tuomas Harviainen

J. TUOMAS HARVIAINEN, VANTAA CITY LIBRARY/ LUKEMINEN N.Y.T! PROJECT - Professor of Information Studies, service designer, and strategy consultant

Mikko Meriläinen

MIKKO MERILÄINEN, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI - PhD studying gaming cultures, focus on youth gaming

Tommi Tossavainen

TOMMI TOSSAVAINEN, NATIONAL AUDIOVISUAL INSTITUTE - is a planning officer for the National Audiovisual Institute of Finland. He coordinates the Nordic Game Day and promotes game education on a national level.