1st Edition

Serious Games Mechanisms and Effects

Edited By Ute Ritterfeld, Michael Cody, Peter Vorderer Copyright 2009
    552 Pages
    by Routledge

    1084 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Serious Games provides a thorough exploration of the claim that playing games can provide learning that is deep, sustained and transferable to the real world. "Serious games" is defined herein as any form of interactive computer-based game software for one or multiple players to be used on any platform and that has been developed to provide more than entertainment to players. With this volume, the editors address the gap in exisiting scholarship on gaming, providing an academic overview on the mechanisms and effects of serious games. Contributors investigate the psychological mechanisms that take place not only during gaming, but also in game selection, persistent play, and gaming impact.

    The work in this collection focuses on the desirable outcomes of digital game play. The editors distinguish between three possible effects -- learning, development, and change -- covering a broad range of serious games’ potential impact. Contributions from internationally recognized scholars focus on five objectives:

    • Define the area of serious games
    • Elaborate on the underlying theories that explain suggested psychological mechanisms elicited through serious game play, addressing cognitive, affective and social processes
    • Summarize the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of serious games,
    • Introduce innovative research methods as a response to methodological challenges imposed through interactive media
    • Discuss the possibilities and limitations of selected applications for educational purposes.

    Anchored primarily in social science research, the reader will be introduced to approaches that focus on the gaming process and the users’ experiences. Additional perspectives will be provided in the concluding chapters, written from non-social science approaches by experts in academic game design and representatives of the gaming industry. The editors acknowledge the necessity for a broader interdisciplinary study of the phenomena and work to overcome the methodological divide in games research to look ahead to a more integrated and interdisciplinary study of digital games.

    This timely and singular volume will appeal to scholars, researchers, and graduate students working in media entertainment and game studies in the areas of education, media, communication, and psychology.


    Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects

    Ute Ritterfeld, Michael Cody, Peter Vorderer (Eds.).

    Foreword -- Ben Sawyer

    PART I. Serious Games: Explication of an Oxymoron


    Ute Ritterfeld, Michael Cody & Peter Vorderer

    Classifying serious games

    Rabindra Ratan & Ute Ritterfeld

    Enjoyment of digital games: What makes them "seriously" fun?

    Hua Wang, Cuihua Shen & Ute Ritterfeld

    Serious games and seriously fun games: Can they be one and the same?
    Cuihua Shen, Hua Wang & Ute Ritterfeld

    PART II. Theories and Mechanisms


    Deep learning properties of good digital games: How far can they go?

    Paul Gee

    Deep learning and emotion in serious games

    Arthur Graesser, Patrick Chipman, Frank Leeming & Suzanne Biedenbach

    Psychological and communicological theories of learning and emotion underlying serious games

    Jennings Bryant & Wes Fondren

    Designing Serious Games for Learning and Health in Informal and Formal Settings

    Debra Lieberman

    What do children learn from playing digital games?

    Fran S. Blumberg & Sabrina S. Ismailer


    The impact of serious games on childhood development

    John Sherry & Jayson Dibble

    Designing serious games for children and adolescents: What developmental psychology can teach us

    Kaveri Subrahmanyam & Patricia Greenfield

    Door to another me: Identity construction through digital game play

    Elly Konijn & Marije Nije Bijvank

    Identity formation and emotion regulation in digital gaming

    Ute Ritterfeld

    Serious games for girls? Considering gender in learning with digital games

    Yasmin Kafai

    Girls as serious gamers: pitfalls and possibilities

    Jeroen Jansz & Mirjam Vosmeer

    Serious games and social change: Why they (should) work

    Christoph Klimmt

    Entertainment education through digital games

    Hua Wang & Arvind Singhal

    PART IV. Methodological Challenges

    Melding the power of serious games and embedded assessment to monitor and foster learning: flow and grow

    Valerie J. Shute, Matthew Ventura, Malcolm Bauer & Diego Zapata-Rivera

    Making the implicit explicit. Embedded measurement in serious games

    Gary Bente & Johannes Breuer

    Evaluating the potential of serious games: What can we learn from previous research on media effects and educational intervention?

    Marco Ennemoser

    Improving methodology in serious games research with elaborated theory

    James H. Watt

    Generalizability and validity in digital game research

    Mike Shapiro & Jorge Pena

    Designing game research: addressing questions of validity

    Niklas Ravaja & Matias Kivikangas

    PART V. Applications, Limitations, and Future Directions

    Three-dimensional game environments for recovery from stroke

    Younbo Jung, Shih-Chih Yeh, Margaret McLaughlin, Albert A. Rizzo & Carolee Winstein

    Reducing risky sexual decision-making in the virtual and in the real-world:

    Serious games, intelligent agents, and a SOLVE Approach

    Lynn C. Miller, John L. Christensen, Carlos G. Godoy, Paul Robert Appleby, Charisse Corsbie-Massay, and Stephen J. Read

    From serious games to serious gaming

    Henry Jenkins, Brett Camper, Alex Chisholm, Neal Grigsby, Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil, Judy Perry. Philip Tan,

    Matthew Weise & Teo Chor Guan

    Immersive serious games for large scale multiplayer dialogue and co-creation
    Stacey Spiegel & Rodney Hoinkes

    The gaming dispositif. An analysis of serious games from a humanities perspective

    Joost Raessens


    Ute Ritterfeld, Professor for Media Psychology, received her education in the Health Sciences (Academy of Rehabilitation in Heidelberg) and in Psychology (University of Heidelberg), completed her Ph.D. in Psychology (Technical University in Berlin), and habilitated at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. She was Assistant Professor at the University of Magdeburg, Adjunct Professor at the Universities of Berlin (Humboldt) and Hannover, and Associate Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, Annenberg School for Communication. At USC, Ritterfeld directed an interdisciplinary research team devoted to the studies of digital games and hosted the inaugural academic conference on serious games. In 2007, Ritterfeld joined the faculty of Psychology and Education at the VU University Amsterdam and co-founded the Center for Advanced Media Research Amsterdam ([email protected]) where she serves as director of interdisciplinary research. Ritterfeld co-edits the Journal of Media Psychology published by Hogrefe.

    Michael Cody is Professor of Communication at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. He earned his Ph.D. in Communication at Michigan State University in 1978, where he focused on research methods and face to face social influence processes. He has authored or edited books in persuasion, interpersonal communication and entertainment education. He is the editor of the Journal of Communication (2009-2012).

    Peter Vorderer (Ph.D., Technical University of Berlin), is Scientific Director of the Center for Advanced Media Research Amsterdam (CAMeRA) and head of the Department of Communication Science, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He specializes in media use and media effects research with a special focus on media entertainment and digital games. Together with Dolf Zillmann and Jennings Bryant, he has edited three well-recognized volumes on media entertainment and video games.