Clark C. Abt

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Clark C. Abt
Born(1929-08-31)August 31, 1929
NationalityGerman, American (starting 1945)
Occupation(s)Pedagogue, Researcher

Clark C. Abt is an American researcher born August 31, 1929, in Cologne, Germany. He became an American citizen in 1945, at age 16, and is known for first formalizing the concept and usages of serious games.


Abt left Germany for the United States in 1937. In 1947, he applied as an aeronautics student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 1951. He then served four months in the merchant navy as a seaman, then spent a year at Johns Hopkins University as an English teacher, eventually obtaining a master's degree in the Writing, Discourse and Drama Department for his thesis, titled A Year of Poems. In 1965, he earned a PhD from MIT in political science. He founded Abt Associates immediately afterwards.[1]

He married Wendy Peter on November 3, 1971, fathering a son and daughter.[citation needed] His son is Thomas Abt, a senior research fellow focusing on evidence-informed crime research at the Harvard Kennedy School.[2][3]


Abt is known for his book Serious Games (1970),[4] where he formally established a basis for the concept of serious game.[5]

In this work and subsequent ones, he described sports games, role playing games and (then marginal) computer games as mediums for educative, political or marketing ideas.[6] This interest probably stemmed from Abt's involvement with the development of TEMPER, an early computer wargame designed for a Cold War context.[5]


  1. ^ "Home / Who We Are / Our People / Clark C. Abt, Ph.D." Abt Associates. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  2. ^ The Atlantic This man says his anti-violence plan would save 12,000 lives, September 11, 2019
  3. ^ CCJ Council on Criminal Justice -- Thomas Abt
  4. ^ Akhgar, Babak; Yates, Simeon (2011). Intelligence Management: Knowledge Driven Frameworks for Combating Terrorism and Organized Crime. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 134. ISBN 9781447121404.
  5. ^ a b Kasbi, Yasmine (2013). Les Serious Games : Une révolution (in French). Primento.
  6. ^ Djaouti, Damien; Alvarez, Julian; Jessel, Jean-Pierre; Rampnoux, Olivier. "Origins of Serious Games" (PDF).

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