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Multi-City Serious Games Tutorials Announced

Three leading game designers offer workshop on building games for fields beyond entertainment

PORTLAND, ME, February 20, 2007 - Three leading voices in the field of serious games announced today a series of two-day workshops on serious games design, development, and distribution. The Serious Games Tutorial created by Ben Sawyer, Noah Falstein, and Bob Bates is the first training retreat dedicated to serious games design and project development.

Complete details of the effort are available at

The Serious Games Tutorials will take place throughout the spring and early summer of 2007 in several different locations around North America:

San Francisco, California on March 28-29, 2007

Orlando, Florida on April 26-27, 2007

Washington, D.C. on May 8-9, 2007

Toronto, Ontario in June (final dates pending)

Chicago, IL (final dates pending)

"Serious games is a growing field with many unique elements, and its growth depends on getting more people -- both sponsors, and developers - deeply educated on how to use games in new ways. By creating an intense two-day retreat on the subject we are answering a huge need by providing a great deal of knowledge in a short period of time." said Ben Sawyer co-founder of the Serious Games Initiative and one of the tutorial's three faculty members.

The two-day tutorial explains in detail how to create and use both games and game-related technologies for purposes beyond entertainment. The program draws heavily on the experience of all three developers, who together have designed, or been involved in the launch of over a dozen serious games.

"Commercial and serious games are critically related," said Bob Bates, veteran game designer and former Atari studio head. "Serious games are not effective if they're not fun, and what our tutorials offer are commercially proven techniques for designing in the "fun factor" that so frequently gets lost in the midst of project development. Our goal is to send attendees home to their projects with insights not found anywhere else in this exciting new field."

The tutorials feature over 15 hours of classroom time focused on three core goals:

Improving attendee's general understanding of games and how their associated resources and technologies can be utilized for purposes beyond entertainment. Teaching how to design great serious games by applying the best ideas and practices of modern-day videogames to problems that are unique to serious games. Explaining production and project management techniques crucial to creating games that entertain, fulfill their purpose, and still get the most out of their budget.

Noah Falstein, who for over 25 years has been involved in the design of dozens of commercial and serious games, said, "As a designer I'm eager to share the approaches I've honed that blend key principles of game design with new thinking about learning, training, informatics, user interface, and social networking. I believe these tutorials will not only help attendees but the general field of serious games because it will help more projects get underway with a deeper level of experience."

Pricing & Discounts

Admission starts at $445.00 for early bird registrants and rises to $695.00 closer to each individual tutorial. Group discounts for three or more registrants from the same organization are available.

About the Presenters

Ben Sawyer

Ben Sawyer is the co-founder of The Serious Games Initiative. Along with co-founder David Rejeski of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Sawyer is widely credited with defining, branding, and helping grow the modern day serious games field.

Among his notable accomplishments in the serious games space Sawyer created the first-ever Serious Games Summit, and co-founded the Games for Health Project and its associated conference. Sawyer was the producer of Virtual U a major serious games project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that resulted in a game-based university management simulator. Sawyer has designed serious games projects on a wealth of different topics including Internet technologies, chemistry, the U.S. federal budget, unmanned air vehicles, networking, science, and more.

Noah Falstein

Noah Falstein began his career in game development in 1980 at Milton Bradley Company. Since then he has worked in a variety of roles, including programmer, writer, project leader, producer, creative director, executive producer, and most frequently, designer. Falstein was among the first ten employees at Lucasfilm Games (now LucasArts Entertainment), The 3DO Company, and Dreamworks Interactive. He was project leader for the classic arcade game Sinistar, the PC titles PHM Pegasus and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and co-designer of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. He has had the privilege of working with a wide range of notable game developers, educators, writers, and filmmakers, and has even led brainstorming sessions with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Falstein frequently gives talks and teaches classes around the world, often on subjects involving game design and interactive storytelling. He was the first elected chairman of the CGDA (now International Game Developers' Association). For the last five years he has also written the Design column for Game Developer Magazine. He is on the advisory boards of both the Games for Health conference and the Serious Games Summit.

Bob Bates

Bob Bates began his game writing career at Infocom in 1986. Since then he has written, co-designed, produced, or otherwise assisted the development of more than 30 games that have sold over 2 million copies and won over 55 industry awards, including two Adventure Game of the Year awards. His most recent title is Panzer Elite Action: Fields of Glory, released in 2006, with two more major titles scheduled for 2007. In 1989 Bob co-founded Legend Entertainment and served as its President until the company's 1998 sale to Atari.

Bob is the immediate past Chairman of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and currently serves as the Chairman of its long-range planning committee. A frequent speaker at worldwide industry conferences and events, he is also the co-founder and organizer of the Game Designer's Workshop, an annual invitation-only conference attended by many of the top storytelling game designers in the business. Most recently, he co-authored a 200-page report on the Serious Games Industry for a government think-tank.

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