Gaming to master the game: game usability and game mechanics

Andreea Molnar, Patty Kostkova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Health intervention aimed at children using serious games are starting to grow on popularity, however, Interactive Digital Storytelling (IDS) paradigm for serious games is in its infancy. In this article, we present a series of IDS educational games developed with the aim of promoting responsible antibiotic use and hygiene part of the edugames4all project. Despite commercial success and market popularity of IDS games one of the major challenges we encountered when the games were distributed to schools for evaluation was that many children never played a similar game before and found the concept challenging. As a result, some of the children enjoyed the game while others were frustrated and gave up at a certain point. Although the phenomenon is not new, and it present even in commercial games, we proposed a new approach to ensure that all children understand the message delivered and at the same time, they enjoy playing the game. This paper proposes the introduction of a training mission that teaches children in a game like environment the basic concepts necessary to progress through the game. The training mission was evaluated in experimental settings with two groups of children, one playing the training mission before playing the game and another one who did not. The results showed that there is no statistically significant difference in terms of usability between the two groups, however the group that did not play the training mission found the game more “awkward” to play, and the difference between the groups in this case was statistically significant.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings for the IEEE 3rd International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH)
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781479948246
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
EventIEEE International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health - Rio de Janeiro, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 May 201416 May 2014


ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityRio de Janeiro


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