An analysis of Game Design Issues in Brain Games

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An analysis of Game Design Issues in Brain Games

  1. 1. Games for Health Conference June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA An Analysis of Game Design Issues in Brain Games Brian M. Winn Carrie Heeter Apar Maniar http://gel.msu.edu ©Michigan State University, 2009
  2. 2. Games for Health Conference Our Backgrounds June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Brian and Carrie » professors at Michigan State University » teach serious game design in the SGD MA program at MSU » developed Brain Powered Games, a suite of 5 brain games in 2007-2008 » Apar Maniar » grad student in SGD MA program » this research relates to Apar’s in-progress thesis http://gel.msu.edu
  3. 3. Games for Health Conference Games I am playing June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu
  4. 4. Games for Health Conference Games I am playing June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu dmat.msu.edu/showcase
  5. 5. Games for Health Conference Brain Games are Ubiquitous! June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Explosion of "brain games" » Google search for “brain games” yields 18M hits. » Sharp Brains 2008 market report studied 20 companies in the brain game market. » Brain games span platforms » Many are free; some require a subscription or purchase » Some are single games, some are http://gel.msu.edu integrated suites of games » Some are more gamey, others are more trainey.
  6. 6. Games for Health Conference Our analysis June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Most people ask, do brain games have positive impacts on brain health? » This is increasingly supported by research. » We ask a quite different question… » How good are brain games, as http://gel.msu.edu games? » Disclaimer
  7. 7. Games for Health Conference Methods June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » We looked at "best of breed" – commercial brain game companies offering integrated suites of games » Available via the internet (web-based or downloadable) for a PC or Mac. » Did not explore console or handheld. » We targeted games which primarily exercised a particular cognitive function  We used our neurologist’s definitions, http://gel.msu.edu which usually agreed with company’s self classification.  Excluded executive functioning
  8. 8. Games for Health Conference June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA The Sample visual- WEB memory spatial language attention total Fit Brains 2 2 2 2 8 Happy Neuron 2 2 2 2 8 Lumosity 2 2 1 2 7 DOWNLOADABLE Brain Challenge 1 1 0 1 3 Brainiversity 1 0 1 1 3 http://gel.msu.edu Big Fish Brain 0 2 2 0 4 Teasers total 8 9 8 8 33
  9. 9. Games for Health Conference ATTENTION GAMES June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu
  10. 10. Games for Health Conference MEMORY GAMES June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu
  11. 11. Games for Health Conference VISUAL-SPATIAL GAMES June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu ELEMENTS JIGSAW WORLD
  12. 12. Games for Health Conference LANGUAGE GAMES June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA WORD ZEN: FORGOTTEN http://gel.msu.edu Mahjongg RIDDLES: The Reinvented Moonlight Sonatas
  13. 13. Games for Health Conference How did we define fun? June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Beauty » Creation » Immersion » Power » Intellectual » Exploration/Discove Problem Solving ry » Competition » Advancement & » Social Interaction Completion » Humor » Mental Ability » Thrill of Danger » Altruism* » Physical Activity http://gel.msu.edu » Learning* » Love Pierre-Alexandre Garneau - Fourteen Forms of Fun
  14. 14. Games for Health Conference How did we evaluate June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Three players » Each coded forms of fun as  0=not present  1=slightly present  2=extensively present » Also coded many other aspects » Once all the players had coded  checked for reliability  ensured each of the coder understood the various categories http://gel.msu.edu  some recoding
  15. 15. Games for Health Conference June 11-12, 2009 Forms of Fun (n=29, pure BGs) Boston, MA mental ability 100% advancement & completion 48% competition 48% beauty 45% immersion 45% intellectual problem solving 24% exploration/discovery 21% story 21% humor 17% learning (about real world) 17% creation 10% http://gel.msu.edu thrill of danger 7% physical ability, application of ability, social interaction, love, power, altruism 0%
  16. 16. Games for Health Conference June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA Fun by Brain Domain (n=29) Average (based on 0 to 2 scale) language visual memory attention mental ability 1.8 1.5 1.8 1.5 advancement & completion 0.3 0.5 0.9 0.9 competition 1.5 1.4 1.6 1.3 visual beauty 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.5 immersion (sense of place) 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.8 int. problem-solving 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.4 exploration/discovery 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 story 0.2 0.0 0.6 0.1 humor 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.1 learning (about real world) 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.3 http://gel.msu.edu creation 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 thrill of danger 0.0 0.2 0.1 0.0
  17. 17. Games for Health Conference Total Forms of Fun June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA (n=33) Average Variance Big Fish games 7.6 0.5 Fit Brains 6.1 1.3 Lumosity 4.4 2.9 Brainiversity 3.0 1.0 Brain Challenge 3.0 1.7 Happy Neuron 2.5 1.7 1 game had 1 form of fun 1 game had 10 forms of fun http://gel.msu.edu the average was 4.5
  18. 18. Games for Health Conference Should brain games be fun? June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » YES?  People will play more if it’s fun.  More people will play if it’s fun.  Fun is positive for mental health. » NO?  It has to be hard to be good for you. Maybe that’s not fun?  Is there an added placebo effect if mental exercise is not fun? http://gel.msu.edu  Designing for fun may conflict with cognitive goals of the exercise.
  19. 19. Games for Health Conference June 11-12, 2009 How to improve the “fun factor” Boston, MA » Enhance the visual beauty of the game. Visual Style Big Fish games 3.0 Fit Brains Happy Neuron 2.9 Brain Challenge 2.7 Lumosity 2.1 1.5 http://gel.msu.edu Brainiversity 1.0
  20. 20. Games for Health Conference Brainiversity June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu
  21. 21. Games for Health Conference Happy Neuron June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu
  22. 22. Games for Health Conference June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA Lumosity http://gel.msu.edu
  23. 23. Games for Health Conference Brain Challenge June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu Brain Challenge by Gameloft
  24. 24. Games for Health Conference Fit Brain June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA http://gel.msu.edu
  25. 25. Games for Health Conference How to improve the “fun factor” June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Add a backstory » 1 of 29 brain games had a backstory » (3 of 4 casuals games did) » Create a scenario » 48% none, 38% slight, 14% rich » Give the player a role to play » 31% had an imaginary player role » 17% an actual player story http://gel.msu.edu » Story, scenario, and visual style should work in tandem to create a coherent experience
  26. 26. Games for Health Conference How to improve the “fun factor” June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Use sound to enhance immersion sound pleasing mood continuous feedbac (not sound music k “plain”) effects Big Fish games 100% 100% 100% 75% Brain Challenge 100% 100% 67% 33% Brainiversity 100% 100% 33% 0% Fit Brains 0% 100% 63% 75% Lumosity 0% 100% 14% 14% http://gel.msu.edu Happy Neuron 0% 100% 0% 0%
  27. 27. Games for Health Conference June 11-12, 2009 How to improve the “fun factor” Boston, MA » Makes sure the challenge keeps the player in the flow channel Selectable Challenge (n) difficulty increases Brain Challenge 100% 100% 3 Happy Neuron 100% 25% 8 Big Fish games 50% 75% 4 Brainiversity 0% 67% 3 http://gel.msu.edu Lumosity 0% 57% 7 Fit Brains 0% 50% 8
  28. 28. Games for Health Conference How to improve the “fun factor” June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Give the player choice (player selectable content) Content Happy Neuron 25% Fit Brains 13% Brain Challenge 0% Lumosity 0% Brainiversity 0% http://gel.msu.edu 3 of 29 BGs allowed players to select content.
  29. 29. Games for Health Conference How to improve the “fun factor” June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Guide the player (provide hints) Hints Big Fish games 100% Happy Neuron 25% Fit Brains 25% Lumosity 14% Brainiversity 0% http://gel.msu.edu Brain Challenge 0% Only 17% of BGs offered players hints.
  30. 30. Games for Health Conference June 11-12, 2009 How to improve the “fun factor” Boston, MA » Provide informative feedback and take advantage of competition http://gel.msu.edu
  31. 31. Games for Health Conference Conclusions June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » There are likely many motivators that bring people to brain games. » Fun is one motivator that has not been fully utilized to date. » There are several ways to improve the fun in these games. » The forms of fun serve as one http://gel.msu.edu guide to increasing the fun in brain games.
  32. 32. Games for Health Conference Questions? June 11-12, 2009 Boston, MA » Brian Winn (winnb@msu.edu) » Carrie Heeter (heeter@msu.edu) » Apar Maniar (apar.maniar@gmail.com) » http://gel.msu.edu » http://seriousgames.msu.edu http://gel.msu.edu

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