Overview. During a decade and a half from 1970 through 1985, The Guide to Simulations/Games for Education and Training, through four editions, was the standard reference book for the field. It was produced by a large team effort that I coordinated throughout. In a single place, it provided a database of information on what educational simulations and games were available and provided an increasingly critical commentary on the field and on the individual products of which it was composed. Martin Gardner in Scientific American called it a "valuable reference" and another reviewer called it and "indispensable source for finding the right game and knowing as much as possible about it before ordering." John Washburn in a review in Simulation/Gaming/News said that the Guide is "...it has become an access list of tools, tools for change and alternatives. Because of this, it is a dangerous book." In this article, I will provide a brief history of the Guide.
Origins. Simulation gaming intrigued me. In 1968 I made my first simulation game, The Federal Marketplace. It was designed to train Federal liaison officers of the State University of New York to help professors obtain educational and research grants and contracts from the federal government. It was a university sales manager game. I built it on the suggestion of Rowan Wakefield, the man in charge of Federal relations for SUNY, who had asked me to design a training seminar for his campus liaison officers. I had landed that job because I had just finished designing the standard reference service for the Great Society, a monthly updated loose-leaf information service called, The Guide to Federal Assistance, which many people called "The Grantsman's Bible."
I felt that I had solved the problems of how to design instructional and reference materials for relatively stable subject matters in a methodology I called structured writing. (Note 1) (see Horn, 1989, 1993 for current accounts of that research). Structured writing solved many of the problems of designing passive learning materials. For me, simulation represented the other - the dynamic -- side of learning theory and practice. When I got slightly better acquainted with the field, I saw was that there was no standard reference book that would tell you what simulations and games were available for teachers and industrial trainers. Since I had just built a very successful reference product, I decided to express my confidence that the simulation field would flourish, by creating The Guide to Simulations / Games for Education and Training. I also thought that a standard reference book would give the field the stature it deserved and that the book itself would help the field to flourish. Stuart Brand, when he reviewed the the Guide in the Whole Earth Catalog, wasn't so confident about the field. He wrote, "Some say simulation games are good. Some say they're a fad. Maybe they're a good fad. here is your reference guide."
The First Edition, 1970. Since I was involved in running a small research company, I didn't have the personal time to do all the work. So I found a mature graduate student, David W. Zuckerman, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where I had taught the previous summer. David was a master teacher and, for part of the time he was helping edit the Guide, he was also Academic Director of the Thirteenth Year, an experimental treatment program for underachievers. We designed the book together and David oversaw the accumulation of data and did much of the writing of the entries for the first edition. In order to get maximum exposure for the field, we made a conscious decision to describe almost every educational simulation and game that was sent us, even if it had not been commercially published. Looking back, I feel that that was one of the best decisions we made in that first edition. We did exclude action mazes, puzzles, and in-basket exercises, which were "near-games." The first Guide contained complete descriptions of 404 games and simulations. We also included a list of more than 450 items, which were in development and about which we did not have complete information. The first edition also included an excellent bibliographic article on the field by Paul A. Twelker. My company, Information Resources, Inc., published the first edition in 1970.
In those days, we were still dispelling the notion that games are just for kids and just for fun. In an article we published in Media and Methods, we included data that showed that "most educational games are created for and used by adults." The numbers looked like this:
The Guide provided the basic information you would expect to get from a catalog:
We added a section which I think contributed a great deal to the enduring reference value of the first couple of editions of the book. It was a section that listed the
Taken together these descriptions represent insights not only into the simulations themselves but also into the field as a whole. So far as I know, no one has taken it upon themselves to do research on, for example, the kinds of decisions involved or the roles represented by the entire field taken as a whole.
In 1970, Zuckerman and I noted that "simulation gaming
is perhaps the fastest growing new method of instruction."
We charted the growth of the simulation gaming field to that point
by plotting the original publication date of the simulations and
games known to us at the Guide. (See Figure 1)
The Second Edition, 1973. We never stopped gathering research since we knew a next edition was inevitable. We expanded the depth of our information on each game covered. Again, Zuckerman supervised the data accumulation and wrote most of the descriptions. We slightly tightened the requirements for listing in this guide, but the field was growing fast. The second edition described 613 simulations and games. At that time in the development of the field, Business and Economics simulations were quantitatively dominant with 185 business and 33 economics games.
At that time it was beginning to be noted in the research literature that one the most important learnings from simulations was when students changed the simulation they were playing or were taught to make simulations. So I decided to do something that would enhance this aspect of the field. Introduced in the second edition was my article "How Students Can Make Their Own Simulations" which gave in five pages succinct instructions for making a simulation in the classroom. This insight that major learnings come from making simulations is one of the lasting generalizations we have learned from the field, thus making that article of continuing relevance today.
The other major contribution of the Second Edition was the publication of "Participative Decision Making" (PDM). I said in the introduction, "In 1970 I was asked by the National School Boards Association to make a presentation to their national convention on simulation gaming to an audience that knew almost nothing about the topic. I decided that they needed the experience of the fun, excitement, and immediacy that people find in playing simulation games before I could speak meaningfully with them..." There was no suitable exercise that fit within the 50 minutes that I felt I could devote to such an experience. That was the challenge for making PDM. Since it did fit into the 50-minute time slot, Participative Decision Making became one of the most popular simulations in the 1970's. It also helped that I gave the field permission to use the game without royalties. Many old-timers in the field will recall that the simulation could also be regarded as prescient, since its content topic was public budget cutting! The field really took off in this period and we sold over 7,000 copies of the Guide (which was the highest number of any edition sold).
The Third Edition, 1977. By 1977 the third edition announced that the field had doubled in size. Our listing went from 600 to 1200 and the Guide went to two volumes. We added new sections including religion, legal system, games having to do with the future, computer-based simulations and what we called policy games.
Another major change in this edition was the departure of David Zuckerman, who went to be Headmaster of one of New England's best private schools. The other major change was bringing aboard of 22 Associate Editors, each in charge of a subject matter field. That was an acknowledgement that the field had grown too big for one (or two) persons to do it all. We again increased the depth of coverage and added User Report and Editor's Comments sections to many of the descriptions. The third edition was published by Erwin Rausch's company, Didactic Systems, Inc. and was brought out in hard cover for the first time. It was the heyday of simulation creativity. My chapter called "Special Interest" led off the book and included these topics (which I regarded as innovations): Families of games, priming games, frame games, whole course games, and games to mobilize the community.
The Fourth Edition, 1980. In 1977, we were fortunate to obtain an $99,000 grant from the Exxon Education Foundation to produce the 4th edition. I felt by that time that the field was maturing. We knew how to make simulations. A lot of people were making them. And a lot more were using them. So our aim became to improve the critical evaluation of simulation games by an order of magnitude. But reviewing an evaluation of educational materials is not one of the highest prestige jobs in academia. Two things seemed important. One, make sure that our associate editors could do some in-depth comparison of games in their fields. Hence, the long evaluative essays in the fourth. Second, the evaluations should be based on actual playing of the simulation games at least once, and more if possible. (Much of the evaluation of previous editions had been based on editorial inspection and sometimes on user comments based on plays of the game without much formal consideration for evaluation.) The grant provided the associate editors that time and incentive to do these two tasks. I designed and wrote (with the help of Tracy Marks) a model chapter. The editors were challenged to do better than that. They exceeded my expectations by a great deal. Anne Cleaves, who had started as my secretary in the early 70's and who had worked editorially on the third edition was promoted to co-Editor-in-Chief. After I had designed the book, the model essay and the plan to expand the commentary on individual simulations, she managed the major part of the research and description activity. In addition, she wrote many of the descriptions.
We changed our criteria for what we would qualify for listing as a simulation for the fourth. The major change was that the simulation or game had to be commercially or routinely available from an institution. This was because (as we noted in the introduction) "Individual game designers seem to be even more nomadic than the population at large." To increase the richness and depth of the fourth, we also incorporated several descriptions from the Robert A. Taft Institute study on simulations and the Environmetrics, Inc. study The State-of-the-Art in Urban Gaming Model. We also provided more narrative descriptions of the "flow" of play of more of the simulations and games. Sage Publications published it in 1980, preparing a beautifully designed library reference book, which was in print through much of the subsequent decade.
The Collection of Simulations and Games. During the course of making the Guide, I assembled what has become the largest collection of simulations and games for education and training in the world. Recently, this collection has been taken over by an international committee that intends to make the collection available to researchers and scholars throughout the world.*
The Future. I decided not to continue the compilation of a fifth edition for several reasons. The most important of these was that I felt that we were starting to reach the top bend in the "S" curve. Many of the niches (important purposes, institutions, decisions) were filled with a well-designed simulation. Second, simulations were rapidly beginning made a part of educational materials and kits, rather than appearing as stand-alone products. That said to me that the field had matured. Also, the personal computer had begun to become widely available, and hence a new species of simulation game was proliferating. This presented a whole new arena for evaluation. Finally, and most importantly, I had my hands full with a rapidly growing consulting company, based on my Information Mapping methodology. (note 1) I sincerely hope that someone takes on the task of helping the field of simulation gaming grow and prosper by making a fifth edition on CD/ROM or on Internet or even again in print. Finally, I want to thank all of the people in the field for their support and assistance during these exciting days of growing a completely new field of education and training.
1. Structured writing is the generic name for the methodologies that enable prose to be written in a more organized and structured manner making it more useful in today's commercial and technical environments. I originated the field of structured writing in 1965. (see Horn, 1993) I founded the company, Information Mapping, in 1982. "Information Mapping" is a registered trademark of Information Mapping, Inc. 300 Third Avenue, Waltham, MA, 02154 referring to its structured writing courses and methodology.
Horn, R. E. (1976) The Guide to Simulation/Games for Education and Training. Didactic Systems, Inc., 1976, 3rd edition (out of print)
Horn, R. E., (1989) Mapping Hypertext: Analysis, Linkage, and Display of Knowledge for the Next Generation of On-Line Text and Graphics, The Lexington Institute, (available from Information Mapping, Inc., 300 Third Ave., Waltham MA 02154)
Horn, R. E., How High Can It Fly? (1992) Examining the Evidence on Information Mapping's Method of High Performance Communication, The Lexington Institute (available from Information Mapping, Inc., 300 Third Ave., Waltham MA 02154)
Horn, R. E. and Cleaves, A., (1980) The Guide to Simulation/Games for Education and Training. Sage Publications , 1980, 4d edition (out of print)
Horn, R. E. (1993) Structured Writing at Twenty-five, Performance and Instruction, Feb. 1993, 11-17
Zuckerman, D. W. and Horn, R. E. (1970, 1973) The Guide to Simulations/Games for Education and Training. Lexington, Mass., Information Resources Inc., 1971; 2d edition, 1973 (out of print)
Zuckerman, D. W. and Horn, R. E. (1970), What Is It You Want To Know? Media and Methods, October 1970, pp 42 - 44.