Theories of Games and Interaction for Design (6: 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 6

These are the readings for the week (Topics: Theories of Behavior Part 1: Health Belief, Model, Stage of Change, Theory of Planned, Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory):

  • Kelly, H., Howell, K., Glinert, E., Holding, L., Swain, C., Burrowbridge, A., & Roper, M. (2007). How to build serious games. Communications of the ACM, 50(7), 44-49.
  • NIH Theory at a glance (pg. 9-21 – USE PAGE NUMBERS IN DOCUMENT, NOT THE ONES IN ACROBAT) National Institutes of Health (2005). Theory at a glance: A guide for health promotion practice. Retrieved August 15, 2010 from
  • Lieberman, D. (2012). Designing digital games, social media, and mobile technologies to motivate and support health behavior change. In R. E. Rice & C. K. Atkin (Eds.), Public Communication Campaigns (pp. 273-287). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • GAME: Immune Attack



Question1: How important is it to provide realistic or balanced options for avatar customization in a serious game? [Week 6 KB Q 1/3]

Let’s assume we have decided to provide customizable avatars for our health  game. How far should we go? Do we allow more or less accurate depictions or should we keep all options within a reasonably flattering range?

Question2: What kind of game taxonomy would be most advantageous to the design of a serious game? [Week 6 KB Q 2/3]

Assuming that different kinds/genres/styles of games will facilitate some kinds of learning and not others, is it even important to go through the exercise of trying to classify games? For my part, I would say yes, but coming up with taxonomy that works for serious games is not easy.

Question3: Can Modest Contexts Have Big Effects? [Week 6 KB Q 3/3]

This question comes from the game review for this week. In the Quest for the Code game (, we are told that the fate of the entire world might rest on our actions in the game. Now, we know that this is just a game, but I sometimes find the exaggerations used in games like this somewhat tiresome (the entire world depends on YOU). I’m wondering if that’s just me, or if other people are similarly affected. Perhaps more importantly, I wonder if more moderate goals, such as, “Let’s help everyone in the house.” Would work as well, the same, or better.

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