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Games for Health

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 9970)

Abstract

Health is an elementary foundation of prosperous human life. Average human life expectancy has never been as long as it is today and medical advances have greatly improved overall population health. However, modern societies are burdened by new complications in the form of lifestyle diseases which arise due to various aspects of modern life, such as sedentary behavior. The pressure on public health systems is ever increasing with the emergence of further complex and expensive treatment options, and due to the complications resulting from demographic change. The technological advancements of the industrial and information age, the computational revolution in general, and video games for entertainment specifically contribute to the prevalence of some prevalent lifestyle-related health issues. At the same time, computing devices and interactive applications also play an important role in improving all areas of individual and public health. Recent research and early commercial releases deliver convincing evidence that playful applications and games for health in particular offer approaches that can help overcome the motivational barriers which often restrain successful health treatments or preventive actions and behavior. This chapter provides an overview of the arguments that motivate the application of play and game techniques for personal and public health. It summarizes the basic promises and challenges of games for health research and development, provides starting points regarding their design and implementation, illustrates selected aspects along the lines of exemplary applications, and hints at pressing open challenges as well as promising avenues for further research and developments. A selection of quality references for further reading is included in the last section.

Keywords

  • Serious games
  • Games for health
  • Exergames
  • Motion-based games
  • Health
  • Game design
  • Game user research

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Games for Health Project: http://www.gamesforhealth.org/.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Stefan Göbel and Jenny Cramer for supporting the writing of this chapter. The non-external projects mentioned in this text were in part supported and in part spearheaded by the research staff and students at the Digital Media Lab at the University of Bremen as well as members of the Interaction Lab at the University of Saskatchewan. Marc Herrlich, Markus Krause, and Rainer Malaka are invaluable collaborators in this line of work. The projects were also supported by the consortium partners of the projects Spiel Dich Fit and Adaptify, as well as by the German Parkinson’s association (Deutsche Parkinson Vereinigung) Bremen. Funding was provided by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung, the GRAND NCE, as well as by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany (BMBF).

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Further Reading

Further Reading

  • Beale I.L.: Video Games for Health: Principles and Strategies for Design and Evaluation. Nova Science Publishers (2011).

    The book focuses on the transfer of lessons from learning theory and technology to support procedures for the evaluation of the efficacy of (mostly educational) health games and their design components.

  • Göbel S., Wiemeyer J. Games for Training, Education, Health and Sports: 4th International Conference on Serious Games, GameDays 2014, Darmstadt, Germany, April 1–5, 2014. Proceedings. Springer (2014).

    This is a proceedings volume which covers a wide range of fields with roughly half of the chapters focussing on topics that are directly related to games for health, while the other half focuses mostly on educational games.

  • Ma M., Jain L.C., Anderson P.: Virtual, Augmented Reality and Serious Games for Healthcare 1. Springer Science & Business (2014).

    This book covers applications and games for health largely from the angle of the virtual reality and virtual rehabilitation communities. Many practical developments from a broad range of medical application areas are discussed.

  • Primack B.A., Carroll M.V., McNamara M., et al.: Role of Video Games in Improving Health-Related Outcomes: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 42:630–638 (2012).

    This review paper provides a concise overview of recent work in the area of games for health together with a discussion of signs for aggregating evidence of their role in improving health-related outcomes.

  • Bauman, E.B.: Game-Based Teaching and Simulation in Nursing and Health Care. Springer Publishing Company, New York (2012).

    This book provides theory and practical guidelines for the application of game-based teaching / learning and simulations in healthcare.

Online Resources.

http://www.ebgd.be/

http://gamesforhealth.org/

http://www.cdgr.ucsb.edu/db/

http://gameswithpurpose.org/

http://www.seriousgamesdirectory.com/proj/health-care-medical/

http://www.fitness-gaming.com

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Smeddinck, J.D. (2016). Games for Health. In: Dörner, R., Göbel, S., Kickmeier-Rust, M., Masuch, M., Zweig, K. (eds) Entertainment Computing and Serious Games. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 9970. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46152-6_10

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