Oct. 26 - Exhibitors at the eighth annual Serious Games Expo in France insist that video games don't always involve frittering away hours of your life. They believe their own video game products can be put to serious use by businesses, engineers, and parents. Jum Drury has more.
Most bosses would be horrified to see their staff spending working days like this. But according to exhibitors at the Serious Games Expo in Lyon, video games are an increasingly important component of professional life. One exhibitor, KTM Advance, has developed a game designed to train engineers on complex machinery without the expense and risks involved in using the real thing. Sales manager Philip Arnaud says it's the ideal learning tool. SOUNDBITE (English) PHILIPPE ARNAUD, SALES MANAGER AT KTM ADVANCE, SAYING: "I would say a game is a good tool to get the engagement of the trainee; to really create an environment where the trainee wants to get it right, he wants to go back to the training material, he wants to experiment, he gets some fun and such things really build the engagement of the trainee." Also on display was Symetrix's new computerised touch-screen game 'Smart Memory', a hi-tech version of old-fashioned card memory tests. The game encourages workers at both ends of the age spectrum to bond and co-operate, according to its programmer Corentin Saux. SOUNDBITE (English) CORENTIN SAUX, PROGRAMMER FOR SYMETRIX, SAYING: "Usually in big companies managers have some problems to make communicate old people and young people, and we've taken something that is great for young people, which is a video game; and we have taken something that is great for old people, which is a table game, and we've put those two things together." Layercake are targeting executive travellers with their game Mr Travel, whose lead character circles the globe virtually, learning suitable models of behaviour. Users are taught to avoid extreme hazards, like kidnapping and theft, as well as more mundane problems like causing offence by flouting local customs. But it's not just businesses that gamer firms are targetting. CCCP's LudoMedic is aimed at helping parents demystify trips to hospital by their children. Playing games to recreate real scenarios is a concept that first appeared more than a hundred years ago. It's come a long way since then as an increasingly useful aid in helping businesses and individuals negotiate the rocky roads ahead.