What if instead of pictures, tables, and charts, research or articles would use small embedded interactive games? 

What would such games be like, and what are the ways in which games can communicate? 

We call these “Playable Concepts”

Games are everywhere: not only in the living rooms of game enthusiasts but also on mobile devices of the masses. Games are played by vast numbers of players and demographics. For instance in Finland, 98% of the population plays some kind of games and 60% of the population play digital games at least once a month (Kinnunen et al. 2018)

Games can also blend into other forms of communication, and are even able to support engaging and interactive teaching. Imagine games being part of teaching, just like how we often use JPG and GIF images, MOV and MP4 videos as part of the teaching presentation. 

We call these games “Playable Concepts.” These are the games that aim to deliver one single concept at a time. They are partial, embeddable, simple, immediate, and reusable.

Playable Concepts do not have to be complete or self-sustaining games but can become meaningful when it is together with other forms of media — media such as text, images, or verbal explanations. They can be embedded in the middle of texts. Playable Concepts can also be simple enough to play so that the student or teacher can perform the game immediately while reading the text, with short play sessions. These games can also be shared and modded, to be reused for other occasions (Kultima et al. 2020).

Here are some examples:

Now everyone can do it, and our mission is to teach you how. Game making has become increasingly accessible, even to complete beginners, thanks to technology. You do not always need complicated professional game development tools or years of education. 

We have opted for Construct 3, which is a beginner-friendly but professional game engine. You can find more information about how to use Construct 3 on this website. Go to the “Tutorial” menu to start making your own game and use them during your class!


Kinnunen, J., Lilja, P., & Mäyrä, F. (2018). Pelaajabarometri 2018: Monimuotoistuva mobiilipelaaminen (University of Tampere TRIM Research Reports No. 28). University of Tampere. https://trepo.tuni.fi/handle/10024/104293

Kultima, A., Lassheikki, C., Park, S., & Kauppinen, T. (2020). Playable Concepts: Exploring Embedded Games for Education, Communication and Illustration. To be presented at DiGRA 2020 Conference. Accepted to be published at DiGRA Digital Library. 

Playable Concepts banner, with the Playable Concepts logo and dragon.