Game-based Learning

Check out my Professor Hacker, Chronicle of Higher Education, guest blog post on

Below I've gathered the suggestions from the recent discussion on the CAAH listserv as well as other interesting examples the application of game-based learning, and gamification broadly defined, to art history.


Elizabeth Goins, Rochester Institute of Technology, overviews her recent projects on her site. She has other, more recent projects going on too such as a game based on Hieronymous Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights (discussed in her blog), and developing assignments in which the students create games.

Anne McClanan (this site's owner), Portland State University, developed game-based structure for the research projects in her upper level medieval art history classes, Medieval Marketplace.

Keri Watson, University of Central Florida, is working on both a RPG (role-playing game) and an ARG (alternative reality game)

  • The RPG is a Reacting to the Past game set in Paris in 1888 and 1889. The RTTP pedagogy was developed by Mark C. Carnes and the particular game she used was created by Gretchen McKay. RTTPs were created for use in first year seminars at small liberal arts colleges. She employed the game three times while teaching at Ithaca College and wrote about her experience for the Art History Teaching Resources website.
  • The ARG is called "Secret Societies of the Avant-garde," and was created with Anastasia Salter, a colleague in digital media. This game is still in development, but their first prototype was deployed this past spring in an upper-level 20th-c. art course. This research will be published in the conference proceedings of the recent Games+Learning+Society conference.

Hubertus Kohle, University of Munich, Artigo. Artigo is based on the "games with a purpose" model, being a crowd-sourced image annotation game.


Susan Edwards, Hammer Museum, Serious Games 2013 Conference presentation, What Museums Learn By Building Games

Wiki for an ongoing conversation about games in art museums, Lift your (museum) game

Susan Edwards, while at the Getty, did a Game Jam in which students in USC’s game program were challenged to create games that encouraged close looking at the art (i.e. visual analysis). There were some great ideas and approaches generated that she describes in this blog post, which describes all the games that came out of that project.

Portland Art Museum Mythos Challenge

Key features of this project organized by the Portland Art Museum was that high school students created video games and digital storytelling projects connected with the visiting exhibition, Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Gamification in Museums, upcoming exhibition

Ghosts of a Chance

This was a ground-breaking ARG run through the Smithsonian Art Museum in 2008-2010 and engaged over 3,000 people,with materials archived on the site.


  • The Serious Games Association Directory, includes, games and related materials both for commercial and academic audiences
  • Tracy Fullerton, UCLA, is working on a large, NEH-funded project based on Thoreau's Walden, described in this LA Times article. Here's the Walden trailer.
  • James Paul Gee's classic book, What Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy
  • Jane McGonigal, well-known figure in Serious Games movement, check out her TED talks and book, Reality is Broken.



  • Assassin's Creed: David Boffa, Beloit College, Using "Assassin's Creed" video game series to give students an idea of a built space (e.g., Hagia Sophia)
  • Crusader Rex: Anne Harris, DePauw University, offers a reflection on her use of this game on pages 14-16 of the Fall 2014 ICMA Newsletter, including some of the prior scholarship on game-based pedagogy.

Exploring Artists' Use of Games

Larry List

Game-play & Design, Society & Community

Man Ray & Sherrie Levine: A Dialogue Through Objects, Images & Ideas