So the Serious Games Conference is coming up, kicking off on the 27th of August in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, and we’ve been shown the agenda for the three-day event.

Obvious highlights include talks by internationally-renowned speakers Dr Ernest W Adams, PhD, and Professor Pamela M Kato, EdM, PhD; Dr Adams has a PhD in interactive storytelling and has been involved in game design for 25 years, while Professor Kato is the Professor of Serious Games at the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University in the UK. 

Dr Adams will be presenting a full-day workshop on game design on the 27th of August and delivering the conference’s keynote speech on the 28th, while Professor Kato will speak for an hour on the morning of the 29th on the subject of games as a learning tool. Attendees will get the chance to pick both speakers’ brains in 15-minute Q&A sessions that will take place after each of their talks.

There are a lot of fascinating talks lined up for the rest of the conference, including a rather unusual-sounding one on serious games for laparoscopy, a medical procedure in which doctors poke fibre-optic cameras into the bodies of patients through tiny holes in their abdomens.

Here’s the agenda in full:

Wednesday, 27th August 2014

08:30 to 09:00 Arrival – tea / coffee
9:00 to 16:30 Game Design workshop presented by Ernest Adams “Design a game with a message”
17:00 to 18:00 Evening welcome reception

Thursday, 28th August 2014

08:45 to 09:15 Registration and welcome + tea / coffee
09:15 to 10:15 Keynote address: Ernest Adams
10:15 to 10:30 Q&A with Ernest Adams
10:30 to 11:00 Refreshments
11:00 to 11:30 LEARNING FROM MISTAKES: EVALUATING LEARNING IN A SERIOUS GAME
11:30 to 12:00 THE POTENTIAL OF ONLINE SOCIAL SIMULATION GAMES TO DEVELOP DIGI-MODERN LEADERSHIP COMPETENCIES
12:00 to 12:30 IN CONTEXT: EXPLORING MOBILE PHONES AS GAMING CONSOLES AMONG RESOURCE-CONSTRAINED YOUTH IN OCEAN VIEW, SOUTH AFRICA
12:30 to 13:30 Lunch
13:30 to 14:15 UNDERGROUND: MULTIPLE AWARD-WINNING SERIOUS GAMES FOR LAPAROSCOPY
14:15 to 14:45 SAVING LIVES WITH NUMBERS: DESIGN OF A NEW EDUCATIONAL GAME FOR MATHEMATICS
14:45 to 15:15 A WIRE-FRAME EVALUATION OF A PROTOTYPE FOOD SERVICE MANAGEMENT SIMULATION GAME
15:15 to 15:45 SERIOUS GAME FEATURES AND PROBLEMATIC GAMING: THE EFFECTS ON PLAYER EXPERIENCE
15:45 to 16:45 IWRM WATER GAME FOR THE MID-OLIFANTS RIVER CATCHMENT BASEMENT
17:00 for 17:30 Gala dinner @ Stonehaven on Vaal + Prize giving: IWRM Water Game

Friday, 29th August 2014

08:30 to 09:00 Arrival – tea / coffee
09:00 to 10:00 International speaker: Pamela Kato
10:00 to 10:15 Q&A with Pamela Kato
10:15 to 10:45 Refreshments
10:45 to 11:30 SERIOUS GAMES INSTITUTE SA: THE JOURNEY OF SOMETHING NEW IN SOUTH AFRICA
11:30 to 12:00 ALIENS ON CAMPUS – AN ALTERNATE REALITY APPROACH TO STUDENT INCLUSION (CASE STUDY)
12:00 to 12:30 SERIOUS GAMES IN INDUSTRY – ESKOM’S EXPERIENCE IN AN ENGINEERING ENVIRONMENT
12:30 to 13:30 Lunch
13:30 to 14:15 INDIE GAME DEVELOPMENT: A REFLECTION ON THE TRIALS OF DOING IT YOURSELF + GAME DEMOS
14:15 to 14:45 FORMULATION OF A USER-CENTRIC FRAMEWORK FOR DEVELOPING SERIOUS GAMES FOR LEARNERS’ ELICITATION PROCESSES
14:45 to 15:05 GEFORCE: A PECHA KUCHA ON SERIOUS GAMES IN THE BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING INDUSTRY
15:05 to 15:35 Mandela27: A COLABORATION BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND SA TO CREATE CULTURAL AWARENESS
15:35 to 16:00 Closing and thank you

If you’re interested in attending, head over to the Serious Games website now to book your place.

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.