Theories of Games and Interaction for Design (8: 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 8

These are the readings for the week (Topics: Theories: Self-determination theory; Topics: Planning a research study; Budgeting)

  • Barab, S., Dodge, T., Tuzun, H., Job-Sluder, K., Jackson, C., Arici, A., Job-Sluder, L., Carteaux, R., Jr., Gilbertson, J., & Heiselt, C. (2007).  The Quest Atlantis Project: A socially-responsive play space for learning. In B. E. Shelton & D. Wiley (Eds.), The Educational Design and Use of Simulation Computer Games (pp. 159-186). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
  • Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The ‘what’ and ‘why’ of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268
  • Thompson, D. I., Baranowski, T., Buday, R., Baranowski, J., Thompson, V., Jago, R., et al. (2010). Serious video games for health: How behavioral science guided the development of a serious video game. Simulation & Gaming, 41, 587-606.
  • Mount Olympus (video)

Question1: [Week 8 KB Q 1/3] How does gender affect design for autonomy as defined in SDT?

It’s been said that boys and girls approach technology differently. For example, boys tend to attribute success to skill, while girls tend to attribute success to luck. Boys tend to blame the technology for failures while girls blame themselves, and boys tend to show their teachers what they can do while girls tend to show them what they CAN’T do (Meelissen, 2008). One of the aspects of SDT is the need for autonomy. I beleive that the gender differences related to how technology is approached has implications for fostering autonomy in games. Are there ways to foster autonomy that work better for girls than boys, or vice versa? Are there techniques that are gender neutral?

Meelissen, M. (2008). Computer Attitudes and Competencies Among Primary and Secondary Schoolstudents

Question2: [Week 8 KB Q 2/3] What game mechanics relate directly to one or more of the three needs, namely competency, autonomy, and relatedness?

I’d love to see some sort of table or graphic that proposes a mapping of these concepts.

Question3: [Week 8 KB Q 3/3] What are the design patterns for health interventions? 

I have a kind of love/hate relationship with the concept of design patterns. They can be very useful, but they can also stifle creativity, as well as encourage people to try and make a problem fit a pre-defined solution. Still, design patterns can be a great way to learn about the common approaches to solutions in a particular field. So, I wonder if there are any design patterns for the design of health interventions, and if so, are there references or resources we can turn to for more information?


Gamma, E., Helm, R., Johnson, R., & Vlissides, J. (1995). Design patterns: elements of reusable object-oriented software: Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc. Boston, MA, USA.

Brown, W. J. (1998). AntiPatterns : refactoring software, architectures, and projects in crisis. New York: Wiley.

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