Moving Beyond Fun: Evaluating Serious Experience in Digital Games

Ioanna Iacovides, Anna L. Cox

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


Games are normally considered to be 'fun', though recently there is growing interest in how gameplay can promote empathy and encourage reflection through 'serious experience'. However, when looking beyond enjoyment, it is not clear how to actually evaluate serious experience. We present an evaluation of four games that were submitted to a student game design competition; the competition challenged teams to design a game that inspired curiosity around human error and blame culture within the context of healthcare. The entries were judged by a panel of six experts and subjected to a round of play testing by twelve participants. Methods included gameplay observation, questionnaires, post-play interviews and follow-up email questions. We discuss the utility of these methods, with particular emphasis on how they enabled a consideration of the immediate and longer term impact of serious experience on players.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978145033145
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

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  • Games
  • evaluation
  • critical play
  • engagement
  • positive experience
  • negative experience
  • serious experience

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