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GDC 2009: The Cisco Mind Share Game

Via: Game Developer Conference 2009 - Serious Games Summit Track

SGS Session: Totally Cisco

Speaker: Larry Holland (President & Creative Director, Totally Games), Jerry Bush (Program Manager, Cisco Systems)

Session Description
This session provides a case study of
the Cisco Mind Share Game, a comprehensive game for Cisco's certified network associates program.

Cisco Systems has been one of the more public users of games for education and training over the past few years. Their initial work involved some small casual games in their sales division and some social issues work sponsored by Cisco Foundation.

This work was followed by some more specific curriculum oriented materials for their Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA) program that focused on binary math and network subnetting.

In past presentations of that work Cisco has described how it had to learn to walk before it could run and what it had learned from its smaller forays into the world of building games.

Building on this knowledge Cisco recently undertook one of its largest game development efforts to date - an effort to create a game that covered as much of its core CCNA certification exam material as possible all using a game-based approach.
Totally Games, based in Marin County, CA was selected to help with this development. Primarily an entertainment oriented studio with clients such as Sega and LucasArts the company also has been doing some work in the serious games sector.

During this session Totally Games founder Larry Holland will detail in a case presentation the challenges Totally had to overcome to create a game that covered a wide swath of curriculum and improve interest in detail low-level networking topics.

Joining Larry in the session will be Cisco's program manager for the project Jerry Bush who will detail two critical issues for this project.

First, Bush will share testing results from the pilot users of the product. Second, the project is intended to be a for-sale product from Cisco. Understanding how Cisco came to pursue this project as a potential profit center for its training program will provide interesting insights how game projects may not only be sources of costs but revenues for corporations entering the space.


The Cisco Mind Share Game is the most comprehensive learning game from Cisco yet! This fun and challenging game covers more than half the content of the CCENT/CCNA exam.

It was designed to reinforce a variety of standard networking skills and help you practice these new skills in preparation for CCENT and CCNA Cisco certification exams.

The Demo version of the Cisco Mind Share Game provides a preview of the full version of the game due out later this year.

The Demo features five (5) exciting sections—a subset of the full version's 15—each playable at three (3) difficulty levels.

Topics covered include:

  • Binary Numbers
  • IP Addressing
  • IP Routing
  • Subnetting
  • Switch Operation and Behavior
  • Wireless
  • Etc.
Achieving a high score in the game requires a keen understanding of the technology, quick recall and recognition, and shrewd gaming strategy. The Cisco Mind Share Game is a great way to improve your speed and accuracy on Cisco certification exams and have fun at the same time!