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This article explores the use of entertainment games for teaching English as a second language. It is a narrative literature review of theories of motivation and learning. To facilitate the choice of didactic resources to be used in the English classroom by teachers, this study brings to light the characteristics relevant to teaching that can be found in games, associated with different genres. In this sense, 14 researches involving digital games of entertainment were analyzed, using as basis Gardner’s theories of motivation in the teaching, games and the active learner of Gee, zone of proximal development of Vygotsky, tangential learning model of Portnow and Brown, model of the monitor, Krashen’s input hypothesis, Schumann’s acculturation model, and the hypothesis of the interaction proposed by several authors such as Gass and Larsen-Freeman and Long. The results obtained were the definition of the relevant characteristics to teaching and learning in games and the identification of the genres associated to these characteristics. The discussion used the following characteristics found in the analyzed texts: motivation, classroom interaction, social interaction in the game, tangential learning, grades, complementary material, vocabulary, repetitive written content, big written content, need for text interpretation, audio and text.
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