Looking for a book recommendation on the subject of Game Theory

I want to focus my 8th grade computer tech classes toward building computers games through programs such as Gamemaker and RPG Gamemaker. I've heard a lot about Game Theory lately, but there are many books with this subject in the title. Which would be the best?

Tags: Book, Computer, Game, Games, Recommendations, Theory

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Hi Patrick,
Game Theory is probably not what you want. Game Theory is more about the theoretical mathematical analysis of decision making and strategy. It's not about "games" and really not about game design.

I'd look for groups of educators who use Gamemaker in the classroom to teach game design. There are lot of people out there and they love to share resources and help out educators new to teaching game design. Check out:

The Gamemaker community board
Gamemaker Teacher information wiki
The Gamemaker blog (this post is about Gamemaker in schools with some good links)

I also did a blog post a while back about three Australian educators who use Gamemaker with their students. Their resources are extensive and the community could offer you a lot of support.

Good luck!
I've read two great books that describe what makes games compelling for players. Well, mostly video games or simulations, but really they apply to all types of games. Not sure if that's what you're looking for, but they are What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Literacy and Learning by James Paul Gee, and How Computer Games Help Children Learn by David Williamson Shaffer.
May I suggest the following readings that seem to be appropriate:


Gee, J. P. (2003). What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gredler, M. E. (2004). Games and simulations and their relationships to learning. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technoloqy (pp. 571-582). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Online articles:

Using Games to Tap Collective Intelligence

Game, motivation and effective learning

The Cultural Study of Games: More Than Just Games
Wow. I remember when posts might be visible here for a couple days!!

But this one from way back on Sept. 2 (yesterday) is long buried: Teaching Teachers about Gaming. Might help you down the path.

U might also take off from this google book search.
Not entirely sure if you're looking for books on gaming in education, but since others have suggested books on video games in learning, here's one more - Marc Prensky's "Don't Bother me Mom-- I'm Learning!"
If you are looking more specifically for game design as opposed to how it affects learning, one of the more accepted theory text is Ralph Koster's A Theory of Fun. There are some references in it that would not be appropriate for 8th graders but it might give you what you want.

I'd also highly recommend The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design. It is very easy to read and contains activities that can be done to spark the creative process. It can be dry at times but I don't think there is a better "here's how to make a game" book out there.
All of these suggestions are fantastic. Thanks so much. I love Classroom 2.0!
Hi, Patrick (and all!)

Game design and creation for teachers is actually going to be a big part of a new Professional Learning Community for teachers over at the Learning Games Network. There will be resources available and workshops on game design (with Continuing Development Credit from MIT) starting later this month. There's more information and a quick questionnaire to get on the member list at www.learninggamesnetwork.org/plc , and we're going to be talking about our vision for the group and encouraging feedback and input from interested teachers on LearnCentral next week (January 13th).

And as a PS... James Paul Gee (of the "What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy" citations above is one our directors, so I highly recommend that one as well! ;-)



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