Experimentation & Inquiry

Experiment-based gameplay leads to model-based reasoning and systematic knowledge.


In Minecraft, players have taken a simple system and pushed it far beyond its original intent, with the game becoming not only an entertainment phenomenon, but an effective vehicle for experiential learning and teaching.


  • Experimentation in games is a form of “low-risk experimentation,” giving players the opportunity to experiment with new identities and perspectives free from the social pressure to conform, which is essential for forming pro-environmental attitudes.
  • Experimentation also helps players build a strong understanding of systems through the process of trial and error, which is highly effective in transferring in-game knowledge to real-world behavior.
  • Experimentation leads to model-based reasoning and systematic knowledge.



  • The design of each game will guide the specific ways players can experiment, but to maximize players’ learning experience, developers can provide players: 
    • Ill-structured problems that may not be explicit, and require players to do trial-and-error.
    • Opportunities for productive failure, wherein players may fail but still learn something interesting and/or meaningful.
    • Modding opportunities that enable players to have direct ownership over the modification of in-game assets and user generated content – seeing their creativity come to life in a medium they deeply enjoy.

From the Environmental Game Design Playbook
– by IGDA Climate SIG