This master thesis addresses issues concerning learning from and with computer games. The thesis focus on principles that makes successful commercial computer games engaging and how and what people can learn from playing computer games. An analysis is done with three different computer games to discover how they each engage and are designed; SimCity4, Food Force and Global Conflicts: Palestine. SimCity4 is a commercial game and the two others are classified as pedagogical or educational games.
The analysis which is done is made up from several different theories. To evaluate the player enjoyment from playing the games the evaluation is done by using Sweetser and Wyeths GameFlow model, which is build on the better known flow theory from Csikszentmihalyi. To identify the cognitive learning effect from playing the analyzed games Blooms taxonomy for cognitive learning is used. Further the analysis reveals how the different games motivate, provide feedback and integrate edutainment with content.
The findings from the analysis discover how pedagogical games can borrow design principles from the more successful and popular commercial game SimCity4. Among these principles are the need for self determination, intrinsic feedback and integration of edutainment and content as a whole by putting content on the plotline . By using the GameFlow model thoroughly in the analysis the thesis also suggests later in the discussion and conclusion improvements to be made to the GameFlow model.