PIXELearning’s Top Ten Birthday Lists

As some will know it’s our 10th Birthday today, don’t we feel old? It feels like yesterday that we in our strollers building our PIXEL cubes.

It’s been a great decade of working on some fantastic projects, designing epic games and working with great colleagues and customers…you know who you are.

So to celebrate we are sticking with the theme of 10 and so we decided to provide you with our very own top tens:

  • Top 10 Serious Games
  • Top 10 Blogs for Serious Games and Simulations
  • Our Top 10 Competitors in the industry
  • Our birthday Number 1 singles
  • Out Top 10 Twitterers

Here we go….


Top 10 Serious Games as reviewed by our Lead Designer Helen Routledge

 1.       September 12th

This is the most simple yet profound game I’ve ever played: you get the point after about 5 seconds of game play. September 12th is always the example I cite of a great serious game. Despite the developers stating that this is more of a simulation than a game, September 12th blends pick up and play interaction with an incredibly strong message. You have two choices, shoot or don’t shoot, there is no end and no beginning, you just play and see the consequences for yourself; and if you ‘play’ with the tools the designers have given you, you just end up moving further away from your goal.

2.       Typing of the dead:

Wow I just love this game! Putting aside my love for all things zombies for a moment, this mod of the classic, is incredibly addictive, entertaining, challenging and guess what it actually improves your typing ability; it works so well and is much much more fun than Mavis Beacon!

3.       Graces Diary:

Graces Diary incorporates gorgeous graphics, a good storyline, and meaningful game play, with a very serious message. It’s a little wordy if I’m picky but if you can move beyond that, you as a player really want to see this game through to the end. I love the look of this game and the fact that the developers use the hand drawn style to communicate so much emotion.

4.       Re-Mission:

Re-mission had to make it onto this list! It blends a sassy protagonist with an immense challenge; to fight cancer and related infections. OK yes it received a whole load of funding and is probably one of the top 3 most expensive serious games but the end of the day it works. What I love about this game is the link between what it’s trying to tell you and the game play. Each of the levels is designed to inform the player about cancer treatments and procedures and the tools given to the players (in the form of Roxxi’s weapons) are linked to real world treatments such as the Chemoblaster, Radiation Gun, and antibiotic rocket.  (Click here for evidence)

5.       Energuy:

This game made me laugh! It is so fun and quirky and you are driven to keep playing to see what energy will do next! Most of the learning is pretty basic but I see this as a great reinforce tool and a reminder about how we can make our homes a little greener. But most of all I love this game for his crazy ass moves.

6.       Swedish Armed Forces Recruitment 2009:

Unfortunately I can’t find a live link to this game anywhere which is a real shame. Released in 2009 to the general public anyone could test their intelligence level to see if they qualify for the Swedish Armed Forces. The setting of this game was unlike anything we had seen before and was incredibly successful at drawing you in and putting you slightly on edge. Set in a warehouse full of mannequins, you were never quite sure what was coming next. At the core of the game were psychological tests evaluating the players perception, memory, processing capabilities etc but they were combined in  an incredibly immersive, clever, and brilliant setting.

7.       Free Rice:

Everyone should spare a few minutes of every day playing this simple, yet incredibly rewarding little game. I umm’d and ahh’d a little over including this as it’s more a multiple choice Q&A but in the end I felt it meant enough criteria of a game to be included and I’m glad.  You answer questions around vocabulary and for every answer you give correctly you win 10 grains of rice, that rice is then donated to real people in real need. The questions get more and more challenging as you progress but you’re spurred on as you see your grains of rice accumulate, and you know you are doing good. So who wouldn’t want to help feed the poor and expand their vocabulary; it’s a win-win.

8.       Food force:

Food force has to be a contender for the most downloaded serious game of all time. It has to be one of the base lines for the serious games market. Again it matches simple yet varied game play across the missions to a simple message. Food Force 2 is now available to play on Facebook and was developed in partnership with Konami!

9.       Global Conflict Palestine:

What I love about this example is that it uses great game mechanics and an immersive storyline to draw the learner in and make them feel like they are really there, really reporting on the ground. Global Conflicts uses great characterisation, real branching and varied outcomes for the student. I also love that students can interpret the situation for themselves and not to mention the opportunities for continued learning outside of the game!

10.   The Leadership Game:

Now don’t give me that look, this isn’t glorified self promotion, well maybe an incey wincey but. But I am truly proud of this game and I don’t get to shout about my designs very often but I do believe it is one of the better serious games out there. And it’s our birthday so we get to do a little self congratulation-ing.  In all honesty we are very proud of this game, it encapsulates an engaging storyline, a mysterious sci-fi setting, and challenging puzzles, alas no zombies (maybe next time) but we have seen this used first hand and seen it change people’s behaviour in just a couple of hours which is why it deserved a mention on this list.


Top 10 Blogs for Serious Games and Simulations

1. Serious Games Market

Run and written by Elaine Alhadeff this blog focuses on industry relevant releases and announcements across a global perspective. Elaine covers all topics and is a reliable market source

2. Pamela Kato

A games for health expert and founding President and CEO for HopeLab, Pamela travels the world sharing her knowledge and insight into the world of game based learning.

3. PIXELearning

Well what can we say, we had to put ourselves on the list, it is our birthday after all. On a serious note though, we look to use our blog to share opinions and views of serious games, technology and education that we feel the world is interested in.

4. Edutopia

Get tips, techniques, and tools that apply the principles of game design to the learning process — engaging kids and helping educators assess learning

 5. G2G3

Provide interesting and clarifying blog posts that help to understand the world of simulations, serious games communications and more.

6. Gamasutra

Offers information covering the whole gaming industry, with a specific section for serious games. This blog covers stories about new technology, serious games and leading organisations that are using and developing games

7. FutureLab

Shares innovative and highly interesting posts around innovative approaches to education, teaching and learning

8. Game Based Learning Blog

Insight into game based learning from pixelfountain, this blog covers the benefits of game based learning, methods of using games in classrooms and theories.

9. Ian Bogost

An award winning designer, critic and research Ian shares his views and opinions on theories, games and approaches to game design

10. eLearning Centre

Dedicated to academics and training professionals this blog provides high quality reference materials, opinions and insight into companies, technology and learning trends.


Our Top 10 Competitors in the industry

  1. KTM Advance
  2. Serious Games International
  3. Serious Games Interactive
  4. Muzzylane
  5. Playgen
  6. Breakaway Games
  7. Caspian Learning
  8. TPLD
  9. Virtual Hero’s
  10. Blitz games


Our birthday Number 1 singles

17th October 2002 – The Ketchup Song – Las ketchup

17th October 2003 – Where is the Love – Black Eyed Peas

17th October 2004 – Call On Me – Eric Prydz

17th October 2005 – Push the Button – Sugababes

17th October 2006 – Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance

17th October 2007 – About you Now – Sugababes

17th October 2008 – So What – Pink

17th October 2009 – Oopsy Daisy – Chipmunk

17th October 2010 – Forget you – Cee lo Green

17th October 2011 – We found Love – Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris

17th October 2012 – Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia (as of 16/10/12)


Out Top 10 Twitterers

Name Twitter Handle Tweets Followers Blurb Why we rate them
Jesse Schell @jesseschell 1,613 7,546 I am a game designer. Witty, thought provoking, and wide ranging insights
Nicole Lazzaro @NicoleLazzaro 5,735 5,830  make games more fun. Discovered the 4 Keys to Fun. One of Fast Company’s 100 top women in tech. Designed @tiltworld the 1st accelerometer iPhone Game. Interesting links and info on serious and entertainment games
Brock Dubbels @brockdubbels 3,584 454 Play is the action towards calm and stillness Some of the best news, research and developments in video games and learning
Jane McGonigal @avantgame 10,155 38,010 I make and play games. My New York Times bestselling book is Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World http://amzn.to/rr5luD Very active, well connected, useful
Ian Bogost @ibogost 22,455 12,986 Professor (Georgia Tech), Game Designer (Persuasive Games), Author (My books:  http://bogo.st/16b ) Funny, opinionated but super knowledgable
Koreen Olbrish @koreenolbrish 17,427 4,466 Entrepreneur in learning, serious games, virtual worlds, social media, pursuing not-so-subversive world domination. Tweets about tech, social media, learning, life – wide ranging and genuine
Clark Quinn @Quinnovator 16,340 5,911 Learning experience architect & strategist taking it to the ‘next level’ via a deep cognitive and broad technology background Excellent for his “Learnlets”
Helen Routledge @helenroutledge 2,246 559 Serious Games, Games Based Learning, ISD, and lots of other fun stuff! Just like she says!
Julie Dirksen @usablelearning 5,300 2,833 Instructional Design Geek-ette. Love brain stuff, learning, games, usability. All that stuff. And I wrote a book:http://amzn.to/dfhplearn Fascinating theories, thoughts, facts and conversations.
Seriosity @seriosity 3,131 3,390 Improving collaboration, innovation, productivity and both employee and customer engagement through multiplayer online games. The latest research!

About Chopper
Chopper….or Helen Axe when she’s not at work holds a BA (Hons) in Communication Culture and Media from Coventry University. Leaving uni I discovered I had an interest in capturing memories through photos. If you would like any of the pictures - putting them onto canvas is an option.

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