One way to deal with complex situations is the simulation approach: build a simplified model of this reality, learn from this simplified model, and, finally, translate the findings or knowledge back to the reality. Gaming is based on this idea. If we want to make inferences about reality based on experiences and knowledge acquired in a game, we have to be sure that the game model is a good, or valid, representation of the real situation. In this article, the concept of validity is explored in relation to games and simulations; four aspects of validity that apply to simulations and games are distinguished. These aspects are related to three applications of games. The article concludes with factors that may threaten validity during the process of the game design; a few suggestions are made to avert these threats.
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