Supervised by: Ibrahim Berksoy BSc, Msc. Ibrahim studied Computer Education and Educational Technologies at Bogazici University and completed his Master’s degree in Computer Education and Instructional Technologies at Yildiz Technical University. He is currently working on his PhD in Education at the University of Bristol, with his thesis research centring on digital educational game design.


Students at young ages have been known to be interested in digital games. Some research has shown many benefits of game-based learning. Digital educational games educate students through fun, interactive means, so they develop a good understanding of the topic. Therefore, digital game-based learning gives students an opportunity to learn in a new engaging environment that allows them to have a different learning approach to their conventional one and develop a good understanding of the topic. In this study, we designed a kitchen-themed, casual strategy game that included the application of multiplication and remainders, along with the real-world application of making and selling pizza. As a result of subtly implementing the mathematical concepts without any direct instruction, the game is designed to be both educational and enjoyable.

1 Introduction

Digital games have become important during the 21st century. Digital games have been a part of popular culture since the early 1980s. Digital games are no longer considered just games, as players can earn enormous amounts of money just by playing in e-tournaments of different games, while companies creating these games gross billions of dollars annually.

The digital game market has been growing constantly for decades. The world’s largest gaming market is China, which is leading in the revenue generated through video games until 2022, with a revenue of 49.25 billion US dollars, followed by the United States with a revenue of 47.32 billion US dollars (Cox, 2022).   

Digital games have become a form of entertainment worldwide. These digital games can be used anywhere, even when traveling by using portable devices like phones, tablets, etc. Coupling this with the ubiquitous nature of video games, children can struggle to know when to stop playing, therefore creating an addiction to digital games (Conard, 2010). Peer influence also plays an important role in addiction. Online gaming disorder is a disorder which includes symptoms like mood modification, salience, conflicts, relapse, preoccupation with gambling, lying or hiding gaming use, defensiveness and anger, social and psychological withdrawal, reduced tolerance etc., and instances of this condition are increasing in number (Tsai, Wang, and Weng, 2020). Due to addiction, loss of interest in other activities is also happening. 

Many children worldwide enjoy playing video games. 76% of children under 18 report playing video games regularly (Yanev, 2022). One of the main aspects of gaming that children enjoy is multiplayer. Multiplayer allows children to play with their friends online when they are not able to meet in person. 56% of children aged 12-15 and 46% aged 8-11 report that they talk to their friends online while they game (Gilsenan, 2021). Multiplayer helped children feel more connected socially during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and improved mental health (Gilsenan, 2021). 

One of the most popular multiplayer games is Minecraft. It was released in 2011 and allows players to build and explore either by themselves or with friends (James, 2022). Although Minecraft is popular with children, the overall most popular videogame for children is Mario Kart 8. It is a racing game where players can compete with each other or play by themselves. The top three most popular video games among children are all Mario games, which are adventure and or action-themed (Clement, 2019). Children are more likely to prefer action/adventure games than adults. Adults are more likely to enjoy puzzle or word games (Kwan, 2021). Two other popular games are Fortnite and Call of Duty. Both games are first-person shooter games with violence and multiplayer (Newzoo, 2022). The 4th most popular game among children is Call of Duty, hinting that some children enjoy shooter games as well. Overall, children seem to prefer action/adventure games that they are able to play with friends.

The elements of challenge and reward are hugely significant to children’s interest in digital games. Children are highly motivated because playing digital games is a fruitful and fun process. Encountering challenges in games does not discourage children as much because the problems they encounter are seen as merely part of the game. A study previously conducted in neuroscience has proven that the visual and sound stimulation that comes from digital games affects the emotions of game players (Graja et al. 2021). Furthermore, the satisfaction from completing a challenge due to the chemistry in the brain’s reward system is also what keeps children interested. Graja, Lopes and Chanel (2020) state the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in the brain is the most important reward pathway that attributes feelings toward the experienced reward through the activation of the nucleus accumbens because it has circuits with the amygdala. Therefore, digital games might be an effective tool in education.

1.1 The characteristics of Digital Education Games

Digital educational games (DEGs) are intended to be informative and fun. They associate learning with entertainment, thus presenting learning as a less mundane activity. This is helpful as many children are rather unwilling to learn. The three main elements that are essential for a good DEG are graphics, playability and presentation of information. 

DEGs allow students to both play and learn at the same time. A study conducted by Furió et al. (2014) compared the effectiveness and satisfaction of children using an iPhone game for learning with the traditional classroom lesson and showed the iPhone method achieved higher knowledge results than the traditional classroom lesson. DEGs aim to allow students to develop a better understanding and a deeper depth of knowledge on the topic.

The conventional way of learning is usually seen as boring because it lacks the element of play. That being so, students may be easily discouraged when they face any difficulties due to the mundane learning process. Kelly (2016) suggests that the reason why children love to play is due to the desire to explore the nature and mechanics of everything they see and to express their active imaginations with pretend games with themselves in the lead decision-making role. DEGs associate play with learning to make students enjoy the learning process of the topic.

DEGs are a highly motivating way of learning. The discovery base of learning allows students to feel curious about the information they are about to learn. As suggested by Tatter (2019), play in the classroom benefits students of all ages by inspiring a sense of ownership, curiosity, and enjoyment; indicators of play identified in research conducted in Denmark were choice, wonder, and delight. In addition, Hsiao (2007) states that games have a goal, which gives students motivation to overcome challenges. Students may be driven to overcome challenges and independently solve problems without feeling discouraged by the problems they encounter.

DEGs promote active engagement in the learning process. Howell (2021) concludes that the results of two surveys demonstrated active learning exercises in classes made them more engaging and enabled students to develop a better memory of materials learnt in classes. By making the learning process an interactive one, DEGs hope to let students learn through active learning instead of passive learning, such as reading from a textbook in school.

Tatter (2019) suggests that “a pedagogy of play is grounded in playing toward certain learning goals, designing activities that fit in and leverage curricular content and goals” to make it possible to “play with a purpose”. DEGs educate students with a purpose, which is usually to either teach a topic, a skill or a concept in an interactive way.

Hsiao (2007) states the most identified benefit of digital game playing is the acquisition of problem-solving skills. DEGs allow students to learn through practice, using their problem-solving and critical thinking skills to overcome challenges.

DEGs aim to make education more interesting. In classrooms, the testing of knowledge is based on exams and tests that affect grades. On the other hand, the testing of knowledge is based on fun games that present questions as challenges that are to be overcome. DEGs aim to provide a high level of game satisfaction and enjoyment in the process of learning in an interactive way.

DEGs allow students to learn through interactive means, providing students with practice on the topic. It is hoped that the increased level of enjoyment in the learning process will aid students’ development of knowledge in the topic.

1.2 Benefits of Digital Game-Based Learning

As the popularity of games has increased over the years, several studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of digital game-based learning compared with more conventional ones (Hays, 2005; Kebritchi et al., 2010; Lieberman, 2006; Papastergiou, 2009a; Randel et al., 1992; Tobias & Fletcher, 2007). The results suggest that there are a lot of benefits which could significantly improve education. This has led numerous researchers to believe that digital game-based learning has what is required to become an effective learning medium (Connolly et al., 2012; Moreno & Mayer, 2007; Prensky, 2001; Rieber, 2005). 

The combination of digital games in education to promote student engagement and an enjoyable learning process has been suggested as an effective tool by Prensky (2003). Prensky (2003) declared that games have the power to engage people. They are fun and provide interaction, interactivity, problem-solving, story and other elements that give the user involvement, structure, motivation and creativity, among other benefits. 

Earlier articles (e.g., Papastergiou, 2009; Prensky, 2002 as cited in Che Pee, 2011) pointed out that motivation is one of the most important features in learning and the implementation of “fun” is a key factor in motivating learners. Zikas et al. (2013) also declared that the principal aim of applying games in education is to increase students’ engagement and motivation. A study by Papastergiou (2009) on the impact of digital game-based learning on educational effectiveness and student motivation concluded that there was an increase in the motivation of students despite their gender. In another research by Jeng-Chung Woo (2014), the relationship between cognitive load, motivation, and performance was investigated. The analysed results show that motivation and cognitive load displayed a significant connection to performance. Therefore, digital game-based learning increases the cognitive load and motivation of learners and enhances their performance. 

Siew (2018) states that digital game-based learning enhances the learning experience and effectively allows learners to acquire more knowledge than traditional class-based learning. This is done when the game can teach specific content and skills in a user-friendly environment where students are able to play, try, make mistakes, and learn. The game’s environment is considered impressive, typically capturing the attention of users, offering improved collaboration and communication and being positively competitive (Anastasiadis, 2018). 

DEGs are effective when increasing the students’ skills in cases such as socialization, cooperation, problem-solving (use of memory and mathematical skills), and visuomotor coordination (Allsop et al., 2013; Koivisto et al, 2011; Manessis, 2014; Felicia, 2009). Digital game-based learning aids in problem-solving by developing skills like understanding the relationship between cause and effect, logic, and decision-making in life outside of their learning environment (Cicchino, 2013). These skills would be used to increase problem-solving, memorization and mathematical skills (Manesis, 2020).

Digital game-based learning can be used to foster critical thinking in learners and allow learners to have a deeper, more flexible, and longer-lasting understanding of content knowledge (Cicchino, 2013). Digital game-based learning endorses a positive outlook on school and develops the social skills of students (Khan et al., 2017). Positive social skills are promoted in gameplay. When students play games, they are not only focused on the academics taught but also give attention to how to work together and have valuable competition; as a result, students communicate with each other (James, 2020). 

Digital game-based learning contains the feature of being adaptable and adjusting to the learner’s knowledge, emotions, and other variables to improve their learning experience. Plass et al. (2015) state that game-based learning allows for graceful failure: the consequence of failure is reduced, and this causes encouragement of risk-taking, trying new things, and exploration (Hoffman and Nadelson, 2010). Reduced failure also provides opportunities for self-regulated learning during play, where the player executes strategies of goal setting, monitoring goal achievement, and assessment of the effectiveness of the strategies used to achieve the intended goal (Barab et al., 2009; Kim et al., 2009). 

By implementing digital game-based learning, the learning and teaching procedures are improved while also promoting active interaction and communication between students and teachers (Anastasiadis, 2018). Computer games come with certain environments, characteristics and design features that provide a low-stress atmosphere, helping learners feel relaxed, confident, and motivated (Anyaegbu et al., 2012; Gee, 2007; Hubbard, 1991; Li et al., 2009; Zhao & Lai, 2009). This can facilitate the lowering of the affective barriers and subsequently promote more opportunities for learners to become willing to communicate (Reinders, 2015). 

A collaborative, communicative, and positively competitive environment can be created through the use of digital game-based learning. This allows learners to have a progressive learning experience by receiving rewards for their achievements (Anastasiadis, 2018). Learners also experience more personalized or self-centred learning, as well as a learning situation where the user’s actions influence the game (feedback driven). Gros (2007) emphasized that digital games are user-centred; they can promote challenges, cooperation, engagements, and the development of problem-solving strategies.

1.3 Challenges in digital game-based learning

When designing a DEG, there are challenges that past designers and researchers have run into when implementing their games. There are two main challenges when it comes to digital game-based learning. The first is to design a game effectively, and the second is to set up an environment in which students can use games productively.

When examining the designs of DEGs, there are common issues that limit the possibility of learning and enjoyment from the game. DEGs usually have at least one of these six main problems (Delvin, 2013):

  1. Presenting confusing mathematics using symbols instead of explaining the concept first without symbols.
  2. The mathematical concept is degraded to the second most important element of the game instead of the primary focus. This adds to the common misconception that math is an obstacle to getting through to doing more enjoyable activities.
  3. Adding a timing element that encourages students to answer quickly without reflection.
  4. Choosing a topic that requires heavy memorization (multiplication/division tables). This puts the majority focus on mastering and memorizing instead of understanding and learning.
  5. Not teaching the topic, but telling the topic. This reinforces the perception that math is built on arbitrary facts, rules, and tricks that have no unified, underlying logic.
  6. Adding “game-based” elements to the learning instead of incorporating the learning into the game. This contributes to the misunderstanding that math is so intrinsically uninteresting that it has to be sugar-coated.

Setting up an effective gaming environment has its own set of challenges. Many of the challenges from “the gaming environment” are a result of the design of the game itself. For example, an experiment conducted by Marklund and Taylor (2016) from the University of Skövde revealed one of the  main misconceptions about the gaming environment. Teachers found that when implementing game-based learning into the classroom, there was a conflict between how the students were used to playing games at home and how they were “supposed” to play during classroom hours. In an effort to fix this, teachers attempted to make the classroom gaming experience different from the students’ own gaming habits. For example, by disabling some game features (monster, shooting, etc.), or enabling others. If the game was designed properly, the game and learning elements would have seamlessly intertwined without distracting the player. 

The second main issue teachers ran into was establishing an environment where gaming sessions could take place. Teachers did not feel reliable enough to act as tutors when the gaming sessions took place, and many students needed guidance that the teachers could not provide. Only a relatively small segment of students were able to navigate computers and use the educational game with high proficiency. Many students needed tutoring in basic tenets of computers and games. Teachers reported that they would not have been able to implement game-based learning without the help of the researchers. Additionally, many schools cannot afford to provide devices that the children can game on, making the implementation of game-based learning difficult (Dickey, 2006). Overall, game designers need to overcome the main six challenges when designing their game while also being mindful of gaming environment challenges in the classroom in order to design an effective DEG.

1.4 Digital educational games iin mathematics

Mathematics has been a highly sophisticated and respected subject for centuries. The increase in the advancement of computers and technology has helped in finding new ways of teaching and learning subjects. Digital games such as video games, computer games, and other electronic games might give students opportunities to learn mathematics, which students are usually uninterested in (Yong, Harrison, and Gates, 2016). Digital games are used in mathematics due to the difficulties faced by primary school graders in understanding basic math concepts (Fokides, 2018).

DEGs in mathematics allow students to take an active role in their learning and see the visual connection between the gameplay and the math. DEGs also provide constant positive or corrective feedback, which is really hard for teachers to provide in a personal interaction to each and every student (Will, 2017). Some factors affect the efficiency of the digital game in math, such as game design, tool potential, the role of the teacher, and educational context (Drijvers, 2015).

The merits of DEG in math can be listed as follow:

  1. Students can learn at their own pace: In classrooms, teachers usually set the pace of their teaching based on the performance of an average student in the class. Hence bright students will be bored, while below-average students will be unable to keep up with specific topics. DEGs can give more flexibility, finally letting them go at their own pace.
  2. DEGs can provide special instruction for specific problems: in classrooms, all students may or may not be taught specific ways to overcome specific problems. DEGs provide this by showing all the required steps.
  3. DEGs connect math concepts with real-world scenarios: DEGs in math helps students connect math concepts to real-world scenarios by using technology instead of doing worksheets.
  4. DEGs are less expensive: most of the students aren’t naturally gifted in mathematics. Therefore students opt for external tuition. Since external tuition is expensive, digital game-based education in mathematics is usually less expensive, making it a good source of learning externally from school.

The demerits of DEGs in mathematics can be listed as follow:

  1. Inconsistent learning: one of the major drawbacks is the liberty which enables us to put topics off for later, which becomes inconvenient further down the line (Caleb, 2018).
  2. Insufficient personal interaction: there are many methods or ways to solve a problem in math; this is one of the key features of the subject. Digital game-based education in mathematics cannot provide all the methods to support the problem.
  3. Familiarization with the tools in a game: many teachers are not familiar with how to use the game properly to the advantage of students.

2 Game structure

In this study, we designed a DEG to support year 3 students on the topic of multiplication and division.

2.1 Project description

This project is a kitchen-themed, level-based Casual Single-player game that implements real-world application of multiplication and division. The player is expected to apply mathematical knowledge from the process of making and selling pizzas. The target audience is young children with a basic understanding of multiplication and division – year 3 students in the UK education system.

According to the statistics from Cloudwards (2022), about 63% of gamers play casual games on the regular, with puzzle and strategy games being especially popular. Thus, we developed this game categorized as casual and strategic to fit the popular trend.

The game has been designed under the concept of GAMED methodology (Aslan and Balci, 2015) as well as the PlayEduc Framework (Barbosa and Madeira, 2019) with the goal of maximizing both educational benefit and enjoyability. The purpose of this game is not only to develop a game that assists students in understanding multiplication and division but also to provide an example of a successful DEG in the hope of further expanding the field.

Chatbot example

Figure 1. Brainstorm for Basic Game Mechanics

Before the digital design, we designed a draft for the basic game mechanics (see Figure 1), following the process of GAMED methodology (Aslan and Balci, 2015)

This section of the game structure has been formatted based on Leandro Gonzalez’s (2016) guide to a game design document.

2.2 Character and story

The player would be Bit, the owner of Bit’s Bites, a pizza expert who makes the world’s most delicious and unique pizzas. Their store is always filled with hungry customers. To satisfy the customers, they need to not only make sure the pizzas are tasty but also serve the orders with speed and accuracy.   

In the PlayEduc Framework (Barbosa and Madeira, 2019), several key elements were highlighted under the “principal of entertainment”, including ownership, creativity and scarcity. Thus, we designed the game so the player would be the owner of the pizza shop whilst selling unordinary, unique pizza, for instance, whole fish pizza, to achieve creativity and scarcity. This game idea is generated from our imagination and natural love of pizza, it isn’t built on any real person.

2.3 Game Mechanics

2.3.1 Game Design Application

DEGs tend to go down the route of teaching mathematical concepts to players through words and presentations. However, from the research done by Brandt et al., (2016), students from grade six showed great capacity in dealing with symbolic Arabic numbers of the basic fundamental applications but poor performance in applying the concept in solving real-world problems. This suggests that barely solving repeated problems with numerical numbers won’t enhance students’ mathematical development. Students need to build a connection between the symbols and the concrete world. Similarly, Stokes (2016) concluded from his research that “thinking and problem-solving almost exclusively in patterns composed of numbers and symbols can help young students acquire both the procedural (how-to) and conceptual (that/what) knowledge”. 

Thus, our game doesn’t include any direct lessons. Instead, we added game features that subconsciously taught and encouraged the (required) understanding of multiplication and division so players would build their knowledge on the way (see the exact application in 7.3.3 Rules). This increases the enjoyability of the game as well as the players’ motivation to play.

2.3.2 Game Stages

In step 1 (order stage graphically shown in figure 2), the player takes the orders from customers.

Chatbot modules diagram

Figure 2. Order Stage

The left picture show the graphic of the order stage in level 1 with an empty wall. The right picture shows the graphic in level 7 with a wall full of certificates and prizes as awards for players in completing the levels. 

In step 2 (store stage graphically shown in figure 3), the player chooses the ingredients according to the customer’s order.

Timeline of chatbot evolution

Figure 3. Store Stage

The left picture shows an example of the graphic with the refrigerator filled with ingredients. The right picture shows the graphic with an empty refrigerator after the ingredients are taken. 

In step 3 (preparation stage graphically shown in figure 4), the player places the correct amount of ingredients on the pizza.

A good educational game should incorporate interactivity and creativity (Barbosa and Madeira, 2019). In this step, the player would need to drag and place ingredients freely on the pizza, as well as cut the pizza into slices. This part is designed to increase the interactivity of the game though not being directly related to mathematical knowledge.

Timeline of chatbot evolution

Figure 4. Preparation Stage

The left pictures show the graphic of the preparation stage with the base of the pizza placed on the left and the ingredients (brought from the refrigerator) on the right. The right picture shows an example of dragging ingredients on the pizza, in this case, fish.

In step 4 (cooking stage graphically shown in figure 5), the player places the pizza the customers ordered into the oven or uses it to heat up previously made pizza for the new customers with new orders. This part adds replayability and encourages critical thinking and decisions under pressure.

Timeline of chatbot evolution

Figure 5. Cooking Stage

In step 5 (order stage), the player serves the pizza to the customer and receives the paycheck.

The idea of the game came from a memory of being taught fractions using slices of cardboard pizza. From personal experience, this was a very memorable method, which made us decide to go with a more interactive version of it that gets more complicated while still instilling the concept. Since it’s geared toward a younger audience, a watercolour-like texture combined with thick, blocky lines and calm colours is meant to keep the “childish” nature of it all while making the player feel like they have a career and are running the pizzeria.

2.3.3 Rules

For each customer’s order, the customer would say the number of people they’re ordering for, the number of slices each person would have and the type of pizza they want. For example, “We are 3 people. Each of us would have 2 slices of sausage pizza.”

Application of multiplication: In the above example, 3×2=6 slices of pizza are required. Getting the correct number of slices requires an understanding and a practical application of multiplication.

Each kind of pizza would require several ingredients. For example, sausage pizza requires 2 cheese, 8 sausages and 4 olives. 

Application of multiplication: To make 4 sausage pizzas, 4×8=32 sausages are required. Getting the correct amount of ingredients requires understanding and a practical application of multiplication.

Each pizza has 8 slices. Extra slices of pizza should be reported in the cooking stage in order to resend to be frozen.

Application of remainder: From the above example, since 6 slices of pizza are ordered, 8÷6=1 with 2 extra pieces. Reporting the correct number of extra slices requires understanding and practising division with remainders.

The player would be provided with a digital calculator and a digital notepad to perform calculations and record the results.

2.4 Game Objectives

2.4.1 Winning and Losing

The game is structured to be a standard level-based game where players would be moving up to the next level if winning or retrying the level if lost. See figure 6 for the flowchart of the game flow.

AI, ML and DL relationship

Figure 6. Flowchart of Game Flow

Score: The total amount of payment the player received is used to score the player’s performance. Players would receive paychecks from successful serves of pizza. 

Winning: Winning is defined by passing the level. The player is required to receive a minimum amount of payment in order to pass the level. Higher payment would be shown in additional stars. The max is three stars.

Losing: Here are some ways that might result in losing a level:

Pizza made with the wrong number of ingredients cannot be served and would have to be thrown away. This would waste time, which would result in difficulty with time management and a potential loss.

Pizzas must be served in a specific amount of time, or the customer would get tired of waiting, and then leave. This would result in both a loss of time and a potential waste of materials.

Customers only accept the correct order, which would require the pizza to have the correct number of slices and ingredients. A mistake in the order would result in the customer not accepting the order, which would end up being a waste of time and effort.

2.4.2 Level and Challenge

The game is level-based, which means the difficulty is meant to increase as the level does. There are currently 7 levels set up. The player will face 3 main challenges as the game levels up.

Type of pizza – Level 1 has 1 type of pizza, level 7 has 6. Different types of pizza require different ingredients and different amounts of ingredients, which involve diversity in calculations. Serving the right order would present a challenge as well. 

The number of customers – As more happy customers leave and the restaurant gains fame, the number of people who’ve heard and want to come to see it for themselves would increase.

Time management – Due to the ingredients, preparation and serving of each pizza, as well as the new orders coming in, the given time needs to be distributed efficiently. Time management is also a skill that’ll be important to the player throughout their entire lives, so building the foundation from an early age is very helpful.


3 Conclusion

Nowadays, digital games have become increasingly popular with children. It is reported that 76% of children under 18 regularly play video games (Yanev, 2022). It is crucial that students feel encouraged to participate in games by offering them challenges and rewards. Due to the fact that playing digital games is fun and fruitful, children are highly motivated to play them. That’s why it is possible to use digital games as a tool in education.  

DEGs include both playing and learning in the learning process, thus making it a fun, engaging and satisfying activity. They aim to motivate students and encourage them to overcome difficulties encountered while learning so that children may develop a better understanding and deeper depth of knowledge acquired throughout the process. A study conducted suggests that digital educational applications provide better results when compared to the conventional way of learning (Furió et al., 2014). Hence, DEGs may be a more effective option that results in a better understanding when introducing difficult concepts to children at school.

Digital game-based learning has many benefits, such as increasing motivation, player engagement, and performance, as well as being adaptive. The communicative, collaborative, and positively competitive environment of digital game-based learning allows students to improve specific skills such as socialization, cooperation, problem-solving (use of memory and mathematical skills), and visuomotor coordination (Allsop et al., 2013; Koivisto et al, 2011; Manessis, 2014; Felicia, 2009). 

There are two main challenges to overcome when implementing a DEG. The first is to design a game itself effectively, and the second is to set up an environment in which students can use games productively. If these challenges are not overcome, it can limit the possibility of learning and enjoyment from the game. To overcome these challenges, DEGs should be framed to avoid common design mistakes, as Delvin (2013) stated.

Digital game-based learning has shown to be more effective in learning mathematics for students than compared to the traditional way of learning (Juraschka, 2019). In conclusion, the crucial factors for the success of digital game-based education in mathematics include the game design, corresponding tasks, the tool’s potential, the role of the teacher and the educational context (Drijvers, 2015). Although the above-mentioned demerits exist, the overall performance of digital game-based education is effective and positive. These demerits can be overcome in many ways.

Thus, reflecting on this information, we designed a kitchen-themed, casual strategy game that implemented the application of multiplication and remainders, including real-world scenarios that multiplication would be used (making and selling pizzas). We designed the game under the concept of GAMED methodology (Aslan and Balci, 2015), as well as abiding by the PlayEduc Framework (Barbosa and Madeira, 2019). The game is designed to increase engagement and interactivity, like personally making the pizzas and putting them in the oven, as well as supporting the players’ mathematical understanding by having them pick and choose the correct amount of each ingredient. We broke the game down into 4 possible stages: the order stage, which connects the player to real life; the store stage, where we can see the application of remainder and the connection of multiplication to real-life scenarios; the preparation stage, which promotes interactivity and engagement with the content on the screen and applies multiplication in a different way than the store stage to show there are various areas this can be applied to; and finally, the cooking stage, which along with entertainment value proposes the challenge of time management while waiting for the pizza to cook.


Allsop, Y., Yeniman Yildirim, E. and Screpanti, M., 2013, October. Teachers’ beliefs about game based learning: A comparative study of pedagogy, curriculum and practice in Italy, Turkey and the UK. In Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Games-Based Learning (Vol. 1, pp. 1-10).

Anastasiadis, T., Lampropoulos, G. and Siakas, K., 2018. Digital game-based learning and serious games in education. International Journal of Advances in Scientific Research and Engineering, 4(12), pp.139-144.

Anyaegbu, R., Ting, W. and Li, Y.I., 2012. Serious game motivation in an EFL classroom in Chinese primary school. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 11(1), pp.154-164.

Aslan, S. and Balci, O., 2015. GAMED: digital educational game development methodology. Simulation, 91(4), pp.307-319.

Barab, S.A., Ingram-Goble, A. and Warren, S., 2009. Conceptual play spaces. In Handbook of research on effective electronic gaming in education (pp. 989-1009). IGI Global.

Barbosa, J.F.R. and Madeira, C.A.G., 2019, July. PlayEduc: a conceptual framework for the development of digital educational games. In 2019 IEEE 19th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT) (Vol. 2161, pp. 103-104). IEEE.

Brandt, C.F., Bassoi, T.S. and Baccon, A.L.P., 2016. Difficulties of 6th grade elementary school students in solving the four basic fundamental operations: Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of natural numbers. Creative Education, 7(13), p.1820.

Caleb,B (2018). The Benefits and drawbacks of Math Online Programs Available at: (Accessed: 16 July 2022)

Che Pee, N., 2011. Computer games use in an educational system (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nottingham).

Cicchino, M.I., 2013. Using game-based learning to foster critical thinking in student discourse. Rutgers The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick.

Clement, J. (2019) Preferred device for playing video games according to children in the United States in 2019, by age group. Available at: (Accessed:13th July 2022)

Cloudwards (2022). Video Game Industry Statistics, Trends and Data In 2022. Available at: (Accessed: 7 July 2022).

Clowes, S. (2020, March, 29) The Characteristics of Effective Digital Game Media. Available at: Accessed: 20 July 2022)

Conard, B. (2010) How to Help Children Addicted to Video Games – A Guide for Parents. Available at: (Accessed: 21 July 2022)

Connolly, T.M., Boyle, E.A., MacArthur, E., Hainey, T. and Boyle, J.M., 2012. A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games. Computers & education, 59(2), pp.661-686.

Cox, S. (2022) Digital Video Game Trends and Stats. Available at: (Accessed: 21 July 2022)

Devlin, K., 2013. The music of math games. The BEST WRITING on MATHEMATICS, p.74.

Dichev, C. and Dicheva, D., 2017. Gamifying education: what is known, what is believed and what remains uncertain: a critical review. International journal of educational technology in higher education, 14(1), pp.1-36.

Dickey, M.D., 2006. ” Ninja Looting” for instructional design: The design challenges of creating a game-based learning environment. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2006 Educators program(pp. 17-es).

Drijvers, P., 2015. Digital technology in mathematics education: Why it works (or doesn’t). In Selected regular lectures from the 12th international congress on mathematical education (pp. 135-151). Springer, Cham.

Eng, D. (2019, Jun 4). ‘Formal Game Structure’. Universityxp. Available at: (Accessed: 13 July 2022).

Felicia, P., 2009. Digital games in schools: Handbook for teachers.

Fischbein, E., Deri, M., Nello, M.S. and Marino, M.S., 1985. The role of implicit models in solving verbal problems in multiplication and division. Journal for research in mathematics education, 16(1), pp.3-17.

Fokides, E., 2018. Digital educational games and mathematics. Results of a case study in primary school settings. Education and Information Technologies, 23(2), pp.851-867.

Furió, D., Juan, M.C., Seguí, I. and Vivó, R., 2015. Mobile learning vs. traditional classroom lessons: a comparative study. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 31(3), pp.189-201. 

Gee, J.P., 2003. What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Computers in entertainment (CIE), 1(1), pp.20-20. 

Gilsenan, K. (2021) The next gen: getting to know kids’ relationship with video games. Available at: (Accessed: 13th July 2022)

Gonzalez, L. (2016, July 26). How to Write a Game Design Document. Game Developer Available at: (Accessed: 13 July 2022).

Graja, S., Lopes, P. and Chanel, G., 2020. Impact of Visual and Sound Orchestration on physiological arousal and tension in a horror game. IEEE Transactions on Games, 13(3), pp.287-299.

Guido, M. (2021). 20 Exciting Math Games for Kids to Skyrocket New Math Skills. Available at: (Accesed:16 July 2022)

Gunderson, A.G., 1955. Thought-patterns of young children in learning multiplication and division. The Elementary School Journal, 55(8), pp.453-461.

Gunuc, S., 2017. Peer influence in internet and digital game addicted adolescents: Is internet/digital game addiction contagious? International Journal of High-Risk Behaviors and Addiction, 6(2).

Hays, Robert T. “The effectiveness of instructional games: A literature review and discussion.” (2005).

Hoffman, B. and Nadelson, L., 2010. Motivational engagement and video gaming: A mixed methods study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58(3), pp.245-270.

Hoffman, B. and Nadelson, L., 2010. Motivational engagement and video gaming: A mixed methods study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58(3), pp.245-270.

Howell, R.A., 2021. Engaging students in education for sustainable development: The benefits of active learning, reflective practices and flipped classroom pedagogies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 325, p.129318. 

Hsiao, H.C., 2007, March. A brief review of digital games and learning. In 2007 First IEEE International Workshop on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhanced Learning (DIGITEL’07)(pp. 124-129). IEEE.

Hubbard, P., 1991. Evaluating computer games for language learning. Simulation & Gaming, 22(2), pp.220-223. 

Hwa, S.P., 2018. Pedagogical change in mathematics learning: Harnessing the power of digital game-based learning. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 21(4), pp.259-276.

James, M., 2020. The Impact of Game-Based Learning in a Special Education Classroom.

James, P. (2022) Most Played & Most Popular Games In The World (2022). Available at: (Accessed: 13th July 2022)

Juraschka, R. (2019). How Digital Game-Based Learning Improves Student Success. Available at: / (Accessed: 16 July 2022)

Kebritchi, M., Hirumi, A. and Bai, H., 2010. The effects of modern mathematics computer games on mathematics achievement and class motivation. Computers & education, 55(2), pp.427-443. 

Kelly, T. (2016) Why children love to play. HuffPost UK. Available at: (Accessed: 23 July 2022).

Khan, A., Farzana, H. A., & Malik, M. M. (2017). Use of Digital Game Based Learning and Gamification in Secondary School Science: The Effect on Student Engagement, Learning and Gender Difference. Education and Information Technologies, 22(6), 2767-2804.

Kim, B., Park, H. and Baek, Y., 2009. Not just fun, but serious strategies: Using meta-cognitive strategies in game-based learning. Computers & Education, 52(4), pp.800-810.

Koivisto, A., Kiili, K. and Perttula, A., 2011, October. Designing educational exertion games for young children. In European Conference on Games Based Learning (p. 322). Academic Conferences International Limited.

Kwan, M. (2021) Video Game Statistics: The Power of Play During Lockdown. Available at: (Accessed: 13th July 2022)

Li, Z., Liu, F. and Boyer, J., 2009. Amusing minds for joyful learning through e-gaming. In Handbook of research on e-learning methodologies for language acquisition (pp. 132-150). IGI Global. 

Lieberman, D. A. (2006). What can we learn from playing interactive games? In P. Vorderer, & J. Bryant (Eds.), Playing video games: Motives, responses, and consequences) Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Manesis, D., 2020. Digital games in primary education. In Game design and intelligent interaction. IntechOpen.

Manessis, D., 2014. The importance of future kindergarten teachers’ beliefs about the usefulness of games based learning. International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), 4(1), pp.78-90.

Marklund, B.B. and Taylor, A.S.A., 2016. Educational Games in Practice: The challenges involved in conducting a gamebased curriculum. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 14(2), pp.pp122-135.

Michael, C. (2021) More people in United States play video games than ever before, ESA reports. Available at: (Accessed: 13th July 2022)

Moreno, R. and Mayer, R., 2007. Interactive multimodal learning environments. Educational psychology review, 19(3), pp.309-326. Vancouver  

Newzoo (2022) Most Popular PC Games. Available at: (Accessed: 13th July 2022)

Papastergiou, M., 2009. Digital game-based learning in high school computer science education: Impact on educational effectiveness and student motivation. Computers & education, 52(1), pp.1-12. 

Plant, L.  (2022) Why Digital Games Could Totally Dominate Physical Formats In Just a Few Years. Available at: (Accessed: 21 July 2022)

Plass, J.L., Homer, B.D. and Kinzer, C.K., 2015. Foundations of game-based learning. Educational psychologist, 50(4), pp.258-283

Prensky, M., 2003. Digital game-based learning. Computers in Entertainment (CIE), 1(1), pp.21-21. Vancouver  

Prince, M., 2004. Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of engineering education, 93(3), pp.223-231. 

Randel, J.M., Morris, B.A., Wetzel, C.D. and Whitehill, B.V., 1992. The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulation & gaming, 23(3), pp.261-276. 

Reinders, H. and Wattana, S., 2015. Affect and willingness to communicate in digital game-based learning. ReCALL, 27(1), pp.38-57.

Rieber, L.P., 2005. Multimedia learning in games, simulations, and microworlds. The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning, pp.549-567.

Sosa, M. and Giocomo, L.M., 2021. Navigating for reward. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 22(8), pp.472-487. 

Stokes, P., 2016. Thinking in patterns to solve multiplication, division, and fraction problems in second grade. Journal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College, 7(2). 

Tatter, G. (2019, March 11). Playing to Learn: How a pedagogy of play can enliven the classroom for students of all ages. Available at:,it’s%20enjoyable%20—%20all%20aspects%20that%20facilitate%20learning (Accessed: 23 July 2022).

Tobias, S. and Fletcher, J.D., 2007. What research has to say about designing computer games for learning. Educational Technology, pp.20-29. 

Tsai, S.M., Wang, Y.Y. and Weng, C.M., 2020. A Study on Digital Games Internet Addiction, Peer Relationships and Learning Attitude of Senior Grade of Children in Elementary School of Chiayi County. Journal of Education and Learning, 9(3), pp.13-26.

Wajiuhullah, A., Ashraf, S. and Majad, S., 2018. Development of Number Concepts in Students with Intellectual Disability by using Digital Game based Learning. Journal of Educational Research, 21(1), pp.122-129.

Will, M. (2017) Do Digital Games Improve Children’s Math Skills?. Available at : (Accessed: 16 July 2022).

Woo, J.C., 2014. Digital game-based learning supports student motivation, cognitive success, and performance outcomes. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 17(3), pp.291-307.    

Yanev, V. (2022) Video Game Demographics – Who Plays Games in 2022. Available at: (Accessed: 13th July 2022)

Yong, S.T., Harrison, I. and Gates, P., 2016. Using digital games to learn mathematics-What students think. International Journal of Serious Games, 3(2), pp.13-28.  

Zagal, J.P., Tomuro, N. and Shepitsen, A., 2012. Natural language processing in game studies research: An overview. Simulation & Gaming, 43(3), pp.356-373. 

Zhao, Y. and Lai, C., 2009. MMORPGs and foreign language education. In Handbook of research on effective electronic gaming in education (pp. 402-421). IGI Global. 

Zikas, P., Bachlitzanakis, V., Papaefthymiou, M., Kateros, S., Georgiou, S., Lydatakis, N. and Papagiannakis, G., 2016, October. Mixed reality serious games and gamification for smart education. In European conference on games based learning (p. 805). Academic Conferences International Limited.