As part of Dr. Sharritt’s doctoral research, Making History: The Calm & the Storm by Muzzy Lane was compared with two other commercial games: Civilization IV by Firaxis / 2K Games, and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 by Atari.

Research was designed to compare learning and usability of the three games in educational settings. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 was incorporated into a business / economics class, while Civilization IV and Making History were incorporated into history courses.

Qualitative behavioral research was conducted, where groups of game players were recorded over several days to show progression through each game, followed by group interviews. A recursive analysis of video data revealed insights into game design and usability, showing ways in which particular game features manifest in engaging game play.


Results from an academic study comparing three commercial video games in educational settings reveal ways in which games can be designed to maximize gamer engagement, learning and satisfaction.

Many peer-reviewed publications are available, with implications for game design.

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