Theories of Games and Interaction for Design (5: 3 Queries)

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

These are public postings of my writings for the first course of the Graduate Certificate Program in Serious Game Design and Research at Michigan State University.

Each week, we are also required to post three questions for the rest of the class. These are mine.

Please note: these posts are not intended as any kind of commentary on or assessment of the course I’m taking, or its instructor, OR of Michigan State University or the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, or the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media. They are solely my thoughts and reactions that stem from the readings.

Feel free to comment, disagree, or what have you.

Week 5

These are the readings for the week (Topics: Concepts in research papers; Theory driven game design):

  • Kato, P. M., Cole, S. W., Bradlyn, A. S., & Pollock, B. H. (2008). A video game improves behavioral outcomes in adolescents and young adults with cancer: A randomized trial. Pediatrics, 122(2), E305-E317.
  • Tate, R., Haritatos, J., & Cole, S. (2009). HopeLab’s Approach to Re-Mission. International Journal of Learning and Media; 1(1): 29-35.
  • Optional: Garza, M., Chamberlin, B., Gleason, J., Muise, A., & Gallagher, R. (2012). Year-End Review of Exergaming Research. (Annotated bibliography).
  • GAME: Re-Mission

Question 1: [Week 5 KB dialog 1/3] How to review a serious game?

 Greg made a comment in his mediation about the Tate study results and the game review in Ritterfeld. He suggested that perhaps the Ritterfeld review was looking at the wrong things.

I have spent some time thinking about this too – namely, how do we reconcile the need for games to be fun with the need for a serious game to deliver on its objectives?

I have a review form that I’ve been working on for some time and I’m keen to hear what you think is missing?

Do you agree with the relative weightings for the various parts? How would you change them?


The template I used is the same one I used to do the osmosis game:

Question 2: [Week 5 KB dialog 2/3] How to do use testing on a low budget?

 The study and development process for Re-Mission was highly admirable. However, it would have taken a considerable budget, and many of us do not have access to those kinds of funds.

Is there a way to do broad user testing without the big budget? What would it look like? How could we incorporate that into a lower budget project?

Question 3: [Week 5 KB dialog 3/3] Where’s the proof that lectures work?

Serious game designers are often asked for proof that games are effective instructional technologies. While I agree such evidence is useful and important, I would like to know if there are studies testing the effectiveness of more traditional formats such as lectures.

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