The Use of Theory in Designing a Serious Game for the Reduction of Cognitive Biases

Barton Meg Symborski Carl Quinn Mary Magee Morewedge Carey K. Kassam Karim S. Korris James H.
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

In the current study, a serious game was developed to address a training challenge: teaching players to recognize and mitigate their cognitive biases. Cognitive biases, which are human tendencies to commit systematic errors in thinking that lead to irrational judgments, are deeply ingrained and difficult to alter. This paper describes the theorybased approach we employed to create a game for the mitigation of cognitive biases – a challenging and abstract training topic. A cognitive bias framework that relates the target cognitive biases, their causes, and effective bias mitigation techniques was developed and incorporated into the game design. The resultant serious game, titled Missing: The Final Secret, pairs the most promising mitigation strategies with the primary causes of the targeted cognitive biases and incorporates them into game-play. Further, we present preliminary results from a game efficacy evaluation suggesting that Missing is an effective tool for training cognitive bias recognition and mitigation.


Animal Crossing: New Leaf and the Diversity of Horror in Video Games

Brown Ashley Marklund Björn
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

This paper explores the diverse ways horror can be conveyed in games by investigating how games that are not associated with the horror genre can produce unsettling or scary experiences. To conduct this exploration, this study uses interaction mapping, as outlined by Consalvo and Dutton (2006), to examine a game that has thoroughly pleasant and cutesy trappings: Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo 2013). The interactions were analysed according to three themes prevalent within literature on horror and horror games: the loss of agency, the Freudian uncanny, and the Heideggerian uncanny. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates that a game which is not explicitly scary is occasionally made so through its rudimentary simulation of human behaviour and societal constructs as well as its autonomous functions and inclusion of real-world time, showing that games have very diverse means of conveying unsettling or horrifying experiences. The paper also shows how frameworks used to analyse games in the horror genre can be applicable to critical readings of non-horror games in order to understand the unexpected player reactions they can evoke.


Systematic Analysis of In-Game Purchases and Social Features of Mobile Social Games in Japan

Shibuya Akiko Teramoto Mizuha Shoun Akiyo
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

The mobile social game market is expanding rapidly. Thirty-one popular mobile social games selected by young people (N = 2,660) in Japan during November 2013 were analyzed. The results showed that players could make additional in-game purchases after starting to play 30 of the 31 games. Moreover, limited-time events allowing additional in-game purchases were available in 90% of the games. Results also indicated that not only competitive but also cooperative features are prevalent in social games, and connections to social networking services are recommended in more than 80% of the games.


Affective and Bodily Involvement in Children’s Tablet Play

Waern Annika Bohne Gunnar
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

The rapid development of tablet applications targeting pre-school children presents us with challenging questions concerning how this age group engages with the applications. We performed a study with a tablet game designed to teach pre-school children about emotions, studying their mode of engagement and their understanding of the game. The purpose of the study was to provide insights into what play activities are encouraged by tablet play. The study showed clearly that even though the interactivity of the game was very limited, the children understood the social and emotional aspects of the game content very well. We also found that the children would sometimes engage affectively and dramatically with the game content; we highlight in particular instances of bodily involvement with the game. We argue that tablet games offer design opportunities for children in this age range that may be less relevant for older children, by taking corporeal play around the tablet into account. While none of the models for computer game-based learning and persuasion that have been proposed in literature constitutes a perfect fit to the behavior observed in our study, we find some resonance in the concept of procedural rhetorics in the way the players' interaction with the game serves to complete a rhetorical argument; in this case the storyline of the game. The children's dramatic involvement may potentially serve to strengthen such arguments.


Playing Across Media: Exploring Transtextuality in Competitive Games and eSports

Egliston Ben
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

The aim of this paper is to explore the synthesis of digital games and observatory media facilitated by eSports and the competitive play of games. Borrowing from Genette's work in the field of literary studies, as well as media and game studies research, I describe the crossmedia assemblage occurring in competitive games as transtextual. A particular focus is the quantitative analysis of play in Valve's Dota 2. Using publicly archived player statistics, I describe how the broadcast play of professionals has come to exist as a locus of game knowledge and an impetus for styles of play for many amateur players. I argue that players must negotiate both the traditional gamespace and the space of surrounding texts with which gameplay has become conflated. Conversely, I posit that transtextual systems are situationally reflexive, and amateur players can assert change in professional domains. In addition to the compositional analysis of the crossmedia videogame form, I explore the phenomenological implications of this assemblage, namely digital games' movement away from its common conceptualisation as leisure based activity.


Creating Stealth Game Interventions for Attitude and Behavior Change: An “Embedded Design” Model

Kaufman Geoff Flanagan Mary Seidman Max
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Persuasive games tackling serious issues in a literal, explicit fashion are far less likely to succeed in changing attitudes or behaviors than are games that take the more “stealthy” approach of embedding persuasive messages within a game’s content or context. The “Embedded Design” model, which we introduce here, offers novel, evidence-based strategies for including persuasive content in a game in a fashion that circumvents players’ psychological defenses, triggers a more receptive mindset for internalizing a game’s intended message, and does so without sacrificing players’ enjoyment or the game’s replayability. Such techniques promise to revolutionize the ways that game developers tackle serious issues in games. Three original “embedding” strategies are presented: (1) Intermixing: balancing “on-message” and “off-message” content to render the former less overt or threatening; (2) Obfuscating: using framing devices or genres that divert expectations or focus away from the game’s persuasive intent; and (3) Distancing: employing fiction and metaphor to increase the psychological gap between players’ identities and beliefs and the game’s characters and persuasive content.


Analysing Cultural Heritage and its Representation in Video Games

Balela Majed S. Mundy Darren
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

This paper outlines research towards strengthening our understanding of the representation of cultural artifacts in video games. The approach described outlines steps towards utilising a framework using dimensions of cultural heritage as reference points for games analysis. This framework is then used as a mechanism to analyse two games: Assassin’s Creed I and Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta. The case study analysis presents concerns regarding cultural representation in the selected games. This is followed by a discussion of the main concerns coming out of the analysis. These concerns are effectively grouped under five sections: ‘cultural appropriation’; ‘hollywoodisation and beautification’; ‘selectivity’; ‘game dynamics rule design decision’; and ‘ideological constraints’. The research raises issues about how video game designers approach the inclusion of items with cultural meaning in their products. Next stages in the work involve interviewing of games designers to better understand how the design decisions presented in this paper occur.


Taking a Look at the Player’s Gaze: The Effects of Gaze Visualizations on the Perceived Presence in Games

Lankes Michael Wagner Stefan
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Gaze input in the context of games proves to be an interesting and challenging field. One research area is the integration of gaze interaction into the game interface (diegetic/virtual approach) and its effects on players. In order to address this issue we conducted an experimental study consisting of two game prototypes with two variants (2D platformer/3D exploration game) focusing on presence. Results show that the game genre has a strong influence on the perceived spatial presence. The type of interface (diegetic/virtual - the players’ current gaze position) plays only a minor role. However, some effects can be identified: although an explicit gaze visualization may have a negative impact, the visualization is ignored by the subjects after some playtime. Furthermore, players interpret the interface sot that it matches their perception of the game world.


Game Elements-Attributes Model: a First Step towards a Structured Comparison of Educational Games

Heintz Stephanie Lai-Chong Law Effie
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Research on the comparison of different design options and implementation choices for digital educational games (DEGs) is lacking, despite the possibly crucial impact of these options on the learning outcome. Although game features with the potential to support learning have been identified and reported in the literature, an underlying comprehensive game model, providing structure for a comparison study and ensuring completeness in covering of all relevant features, is needed. To address this issue a literature search for game models was conducted and the resulting models were analysed for their applicability in this case. Several limitations and shortcomings of the existing models drove us to develop the Game Elements-Attributes Model (GEAM) by consolidating game definitions and models identified from an extensive literature review. GEAM can serve as a foundation for the comparison of DEGs or digital games in general, but may also be valuable for other areas of game studies.


Roleplaying and Rituals For Cultural Heritage-Orientated Games

Champion Erik
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Roles and rituals are essential for creating, situating and maintaining cultural practices. Computer Role-Playing games (CRPGs) and virtual online worlds that appear to simulate different cultures are well known and highly popular. So it might appear that the roles and rituals of traditional cultures are easily ported to computer games. However, I contend that the meaning behind worlds, rituals and roles are not fully explored in these digital games and virtual worlds and that more work needs to be done to create more moving rituals, role enrichment and worldfulness. I will provide examples from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda, 2006, 2011) to reveal some of the difficulties in creating digitally simulated social and cultural worlds, but I will also suggest some design ideas that could improve them in terms of cultural presence and social presence.