On the Importance of Locations in Therapeutic Serious Games: Review on current health games and how they make use of the urban landscape

  • Knöll M
  • Moar M
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This article addresses the question of how different health games involve real world locations. A usage-based taxonomy is placed in relation to current research on "building blocks" for health games, on pervasive gaming and urban design theory. This provides a conceptual framework to guide a review on current practice, showing amongst other things, that mobile exergames use a wide range of gameplay activities. These activities span from developing physical skills, to immersive storytelling and social interaction. In contrast, diabetes management games seem to primarily involve simulating self-care, knowledge gain and "nurturing" of a virtual character. Both preventive and therapeutic health games — in this paper focusing on those promoting physical activity and dealing with disease management — increasingly use mobile technologies. It is shown that such games can interact with topographic and social context of the urban landscape in different ways. Therapeutic games have so far hardly involved any pervasive gaming strategies. The article concludes with an outline of further interdisciplinary research to address a broader range of gameplay activities and finally, various game sites are framed in the perspective of urban design research.

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  • Martin Knöll

  • Magnus Moar

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