Learning With Games: Fail And Retry, Not Simulations

A short post on Gamasutra on the topic of learning with games and fail-and-retry.

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A post on Gamasutra: In-between Spaces And Their Design

I wrote a longish post on Gamasutra which they were so kind to feature on focusing attention on designing in-between spaces in games. See it here.

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A game for learning about cancer therapy: help us crowdfund it!


I have been recently working in defining a new applied game with the association Noi Per Voi, called Feel Better: the game will support kids and young adults in cancer therapy at the kids hospital Meyer in Florence.

It will be a tool used by the kids to learn more about their context and how to deal with it; it will be co-designed by medical therapy specialists and also by the kids themselves.

There is an open crowdfunding campaign for this tool here:


The campaign goal is 20.000 Euro, but it will reach its basic goal at 10.000 Euro funding (we are not far) as then the pledges will be doubled by a local foundation (Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze). Going beyond the basic goal will allow us building an application that could be used in a wider spectrum of situations.

Any help in pledging and / or sharing the news about our initiative would be great.

Thank you,

Pietro Polsinelli

Italian version

Recentemente ho lavorato al design di un nuovo gioco applicato con l’associazione Noi Per Voi: il gioco si chiama Feel Better ed è per bambini e giovani adulti malati di cancro in terapia presso l’ospedale Meyer di Firenze.

Sarà uno strumento utilizzato dai bambini per apprendere sul loro contesto e come gestirlo; sarà disegnato collaborativamente da medici, psicologi e dai bambini stessi.E’ ora attiva una campagna di crowdfunding per questo strumento:


L’obiettivo della campagna è di 20.000 Euro, ma l’obiettivo sarà raggiunto a 10.000 Euro dato che l’importo sarà raddoppiato dalla Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze.

Andare oltre l’obiettivo base ci permetterà di costruire una applicazione che possa essere usata in uno spettro più ampio di situazioni.

Dateci un aiuto economico e / o nel condividere la campagna! Grazie.

Pietro Polsinelli



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Towards my book “Explaining With games”

I am working on a book on applied games: “Explaining With Games”.
It will be a handbook, focused on the analysis of the applied games I have worked on in the last five years.

For information about the projects I worked on, here is a page dedicated to my projects and my profile.

Some images from the games I will examine:

This is how my draft of a book begins at the moment:

Games can be designed to teach and facilitate learning processes. In this book I present several real world cases where games have been applied as teaching tools, and through those cases I introduce concepts of game design used in applied games.

This book on applied games is a bit unique because it is mostly focused on teaching you on how to contribute creating such games.

The focus of this book is on how to create interactive experiences that facilitate learning. How can people with different skills contribute? How can the field experts and the game developers somehow work together?

It is easy to get lost in the field of game design and development: here I try to keep the focus on the projects I worked on as real world examples that should help in keeping things manageable.

Some of the questions that I try to (partially) answer along the way are:

How to use games to approach complexity and learning?

How can games be used for learning and teaching?

And why should one use games for that?

Any examples? What is the state of the art?

What is required for creating a game? Which expertise, tools?

How is the process managed? How are results measured?

How can I learn more beyond this book?

The book will be progressively released on LeanPub, which is a wonderful platform for collecting early feedback on the writing process.





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Varieties of Game Applications

Can you use the pervasive media “videogame”  and this field’s design techniques for communicating effectively with people? Can games be used for what you have in mind? How can a field specialist work effectively with a game development team to communicate know how more effectively? [Read more…]

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A little Unity project to explore a math puzzle

This math puzzle was proposed on The Guardian:


How to fill up the slots with the numbers from 1 to 9 and make the result 66? I proposed it to my kids, who are actually still too young to appreciate the algebraic solution. So I created a simple “brute force” explorer of the problem – here – and used to explore the possible solutions.

Brute force problem resolution

Here is the complete Unity project. Play with it!

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How To Teach Fractions Making It Fun?

In my frequent survey of games and research concerning learning through games, I’ve stumbled upon this cute post: Teacher Uses LEGOs To Explain Math To Schoolchildren, which actually is extracted from Using LEGO to Build Math Concepts. [Read more…]

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