Let The Games Begin

“For crying out loud, you have got to stop playing with this thing”, “I really wonder when are you start studying instead of wasting your time on games”, “you have to study first, have fun later, have-to comes first, like-to follows”, “how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat”!

These where only a few that a lucky bunch of us used to hear almost on a daily base, since in some other cases, the ways and words used where not, let us say, that kindly put. Games where always the reincarnation of the devil himself for grown-ups. Maybe they really perceived them as such, maybe their long collection of serious jobs and social ‘musts’ had derived them at last of the super-power of enjoying any game or pleasant activity for that matter, reaching a point of reacting negatively, or maybe, them worrying about their children’s future was sincere. Whatever the reason, video-games where especially and specifically targeted, as they would draw our attention away from school and all the virtues that it came with, such us our education and our development as responsible people and personalities, and would throw it onto the appetite of fantastic worlds, full of impossible scenarios, fake characters, often violent. For all these reasons and many more, we should “turn off the damn machine!”, and focus on studying-studying-studying, providing of course that we wanted to evolve into complete human beings, with critical thinking, creativity, knowledge; exactly like generations that came before us. If the outrageous characters, that draw life from the complex moves of our fingers on keyboards, could hear this, they would still mock the messengers, with the colorful pixels that composed their bodies puffed from the satisfaction pumped from the bittersweet truth.

Probably nobody – not us even – was in a position to understand that these were not just gaming hours; we were exploring worlds, thinking and assessing situations, making choices, solving issues, as part of the game or of technical nature, creating, learning our first words and phrases in other languages, stretching our pure brain in many levels. All, while we were just playing a game. Not all games offered of course a similar experience, as some where only serving our need of killing time, however all of them had a special experience to offer. Many years had to pass in order for us to realize that games allowed us to learn English, explore musical genres, and structure our imagination, letting eventually run wild by deconstructing it. Time had to pass in order for us to realize, not just us and our inner-kid, that games, digital or otherwise, are school at its best.

Times Change

Obviously, at some point, it was observed that the sterile transmission of knowledge and expertise was not delivering the expected results, quite the opposite. Students were growing tired, bored, showing signs of spiritual fatigue, and the most important, no matter how interesting the subject is, the process seemed like a chore. Is education boring? Does the personal and collective evolution through knowledge suck big time? Is the teacher stupid? No, no, and no. Even if, as a rare phenomenon, one of the above sometimes applies, becoming the reason of students’ repulsion against education, the real reasons are different, bigger, more important. They are deep rooted at the ground where the whole thing begins, meets and swirls with other smaller problems, and eventually forms a sweeping twister, which destroys everything in its way. In the everything, we can find our good mood and appetite for education.

Every living organism comes with certain brain procedures, which more or less, are connected to logic, or at least with a basic logical process of solving problems. In order for it to survive, it acknowledges the problem, structures the solution, and acts accordingly. Besides, movement as a function, appeared as a means of survival and avoiding trouble. So humans, as the animals with the highest level of logic for the time being, must recognize their problematic ways, and act according to the desired effect. Sometimes they excel, delivering amazing results, while others, we stand in awe in front of the horrific, able to do nothing but wonder whether we got out of the wrong end of a black hole.

Go On Then…It’s Your Turn!

Let The Games Begin 3

In our fortunate case, we examine a great example of the first category, an educational one in particular. The fact that many games seemed to explore educational waters, timidly in the beginning, and certainly not on a formal level of education, drew the attention of educators, experts, and all those that have a relationship full of love with education. Realizing the tired practices and methods, the quest for new, fresh and colorful began, which would not only offer knowledge in a pleasant and creative manner, but would also rip out the military structure and discipline off of a typical class, introducing students in new ways of co-existing and interaction.

The experiment was successful. Whatever the educational subject, or its unit examined, it seemed that the practice drew students interest, playing an important role in the educational process. Geography, History, Foreign Language, Geometry, Information Technology, etc., all educational fields found their place, and Gamification of education started to find its place on the map, slow but steady. Board or digital, or even impromptu during class, games took over a role, just as important as that of entertaining us.


The need of reinventing the educational wheel met Covid, and the rest is bad history. It was not only the imperative need for efficient tools and practices of distant education, but a general need of supporting educational Organizations. By recognizing the above and analyzing the occurring data, S4EG was born.

S4EG focuses on empowering adult educators and the Curriculum that they develop, via the development of 6 educational games, and their eventual introduction in adult education. The games that were born through the project, focus on the development of learners’ 6 basic skills, which are of importance in the modern job market: Self and Time Management, Collaboration and Teamwork, Creativity, Creative Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication Skills, and Emotional Intelligence. On one hand, educators are able to enrich their Curriculum with innovative methods, while at the same time, learners have the chance to work on their skills, via educational games!

Let us see each game, one by one:

  1. Improbable Scenarios: A game by Spanish Metodo, which is the definition of the phrase ‘Greatness comes with simplicity’. The game’s structure is simple, the same goes for its rules; the chance for creativity that it offers though is astonishing, and that is its secret weapon. The players enter fantastic worlds, with improbable features, offering solutions to outrageous problems, always considering the surprise item! The game is available in both physical and digital versions.
  2. Emotional Intelligence: Our dear Cypriot neighbors from CSI, developed a game that focuses on players’ Emotional Intelligence, and consequently, their reactions and handling of similar situations. The pallet of the categories, on which the questions are based, is comprised of Empathy, Motivation, Self-Regulation, Social Skills, Self-Awareness, as well as Time-related questions. The Emotional Intelligence game also has an online version.
  3. Communication Skills: The German partners from VHS developed an educational game that focuses on learners’ communication skills. The players are able to participate in a heated conversation with surprising turns, humor, conflicts, alliances, as well as rivalries. A rather pleasant experience which supports learners on handling similar situations that may come up in a workspace. Available in physical, as well as digital form.
  4. Brain-‘Em: Our very dear Slovenian partners from the Public University of Ptuj, drew their inspiration from the all-time-classic Scrabble, calling players to sharpen their minds and creativity, finding words based on the available categories. Brain-‘Em is available in physical form.
  5. Collaboration and Teamwork: p-consulting.gr’s team developed ‘Collaboration and Teamwork’, introducing players in realistic working conditions, allowing them to face issues that appear within it. Cooperation and teamwork during work are of essence, and with these in mind, players are tested in setbacks and problems. The game is available both in physical and digital form.
  6. Self and Time Management: The ‘Self and Time Management’ that comes from the French ‘Greta du Velay’s is an educational board game that focuses on well-structured and effective management of time, as well as everyday activities. Choose what you’ll do, when you’ll do it, and how, so that you end up with the most efficient day possible! The game is available in physical form.

These are the 6 cornerstones of S4EG, with each one focusing on a separate skill of great importance for learners’ personal evolution, as well as their professional prospects kai employability. All 6 of them, are available on the project’s Website, in both their digital, when that is available, and their physical form, ready to be printed.


So now that the stage of development is out of the way, the imperative stage of piloting follows. Adult educators, along with their students, will be placed in the cockpit, testing the 6 games as part of their class, in order to test their efficiency, as well as the effect they have on learners. The stage of piloting has begun and will last until the end of the current month, and shall be completed at an event that shall take place during February.

Adult learners, with the educators’ guidance, will try out and then evaluate the developed games, offering their precious opinions on thematics and scenarios, difficulty and organization, available materials, as well as their effectiveness.

Take This Torch

S4EG is at the homestretch with the following months signaling its completion, and eventually closure. It is however the beginning of its journey in the world of adult education, via the educational programs, the desk researches, and of course the 6 develop games. Thus, adult education, along with the people involved in it, acquire new tools that remind us of the flame of life, truth, and creativity, a flame that we lit up as kids, one that we must never allow to go out.

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