Serious Games: What Are They? What Do They Do? Why Should We Play Them?

Fran C. Blumberg, Debby E. Almonte, Jared S. Anthony and Naoko Hashimoto

in The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398809
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Serious Games: What Are They? What Do They Do? Why Should We Play Them?

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  • Social Psychology


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Serious games are designed to entertain and educate players, and to promote behavioral change. This chapter reviews characterizations of serious games and the theoretical perspectives, most notably Social Cognitive Theory, that have been used to account for their effects, and game elements such as identity, immersion, and interactivity. It also surveys the diverse areas in which serious games have been used, such as health, education, civic engagement, and advertising. It concludes by identifying future directions for serious game design research and development that will promote transfer of skills and content from the game to the real world, including debriefing and explication of players’ behaviors and cognitive skills while playing.

Keywords: challenge; debriefing; feedback; identity; immersion; interactivity; serious games; simulations

Article.  13778 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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