Gamification of education is not a new concept. Modern technologies allow making simulations more authentic. This post from EmergingTech gives a good overview of simulation games in business education facilitated by Cesim. Yes, games cab be serious and promote active learning.
Gaming is a big business both in industry and education! Please visit my previous post about gamification in education for more details. Many programs are very sophisticated and expensive; some are user-friendly and free (or somewhat free).
Check out a Game Creator and see if your students will be interested.
Gamification is the usage of game elements in non- gaming situations, often to motivate or influence behavior of students. Have you ever thoughts about games in your courses? Review this collection of resources on diigo to get started!