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Which game narratives do adolescents of different gameplay and sociodemographic backgrounds prefer? : a mixed-methods analysis

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Abstract
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate which narrative elements of digital game narratives are preferred by the general adolescent population, and to examine associations with gender, socioeconomic status (SES), and gameplay frequency. Further, the study aims to discuss how results can be translated to serious digital games. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Adolescents were recruited through school to complete a survey on narrative preferences in digital games. The survey included questions on sociodemographic information, frequency of gameplay, and an open-ended question on what could be an appealing narrative for them. Data were analyzed in a mixed-methods approach, using thematic analysis and chi-square analyses to determine narrative preferences and the associations between game narrative elements and player characteristics (gender, SES, and frequency of gameplay). RESULTS: The sample consisted of 446 adolescents (12-15 years old) who described 30 narrative subthemes. Preferences included human characters as protagonists; nonhuman characters only as antagonists; realistic settings, such as public places or cities; and a strong conflict surrounding crime, catastrophe, or war. Girls more often than boys defined characters by their age, included avatars, located the narrative in private places, developed profession-related skills, and included a positive atmosphere. Adolescents of nonacademic education more often than adolescents of academic education defined characters by criminal actions. Infrequent players more often included human characters defined by their age than frequent players. After performing a Bonferroni correction, narrative preferences for several gender differences remained. CONCLUSION: Different narrative elements related to subgroups of adolescents by gender, SES, and frequency of gameplay. Customization of narratives in serious digital health games should be warranted for boys and girls; yet, further research is needed to specify how to address girls in particular.
Keywords
physical activity & health, Serious games, Digital games, Narratives, Adolescents, Mixed method, Health promotion, CHILDHOOD OBESITY PREVENTION, COMPUTER GAMES, VIDEO GAMES, BEHAVIOR-CHANGE, SERIOUS GAMES, INSTRUCTIONAL-DESIGN, EMPIRICAL-EVIDENCE, HEALTH VIDEOGAME, STORY IMMERSION, ENGAGEMENT

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MLA
Schwarz, Ayla et al. “Which Game Narratives Do Adolescents of Different Gameplay and Sociodemographic Backgrounds Prefer? : a Mixed-methods Analysis.” GAMES FOR HEALTH JOURNAL 8.3 (2019): n. pag. Print.
APA
Schwarz, A., Mertens, L., Simons, M., Spook, J. E., Thompson, D., Cardon, G., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., et al. (2019). Which game narratives do adolescents of different gameplay and sociodemographic backgrounds prefer? : a mixed-methods analysis. GAMES FOR HEALTH JOURNAL, 8(3).
Chicago author-date
Schwarz, Ayla, Lieze Mertens, Monique Simons, Jorinde E Spook, Debbe Thompson, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Sebastien Chastin, and Ann DeSmet. 2019. “Which Game Narratives Do Adolescents of Different Gameplay and Sociodemographic Backgrounds Prefer? : a Mixed-methods Analysis.” Games for Health Journal 8 (3).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Schwarz, Ayla, Lieze Mertens, Monique Simons, Jorinde E Spook, Debbe Thompson, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Sebastien Chastin, and Ann DeSmet. 2019. “Which Game Narratives Do Adolescents of Different Gameplay and Sociodemographic Backgrounds Prefer? : a Mixed-methods Analysis.” Games for Health Journal 8 (3).
Vancouver
1.
Schwarz A, Mertens L, Simons M, Spook JE, Thompson D, Cardon G, et al. Which game narratives do adolescents of different gameplay and sociodemographic backgrounds prefer? : a mixed-methods analysis. GAMES FOR HEALTH JOURNAL. 2019;8(3).
IEEE
[1]
A. Schwarz et al., “Which game narratives do adolescents of different gameplay and sociodemographic backgrounds prefer? : a mixed-methods analysis,” GAMES FOR HEALTH JOURNAL, vol. 8, no. 3, 2019.
@article{8591381,
  abstract     = {OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate which narrative elements of digital game narratives are preferred by the general adolescent population, and to examine associations with gender, socioeconomic status (SES), and gameplay frequency. Further, the study aims to discuss how results can be translated to serious digital games.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Adolescents were recruited through school to complete a survey on narrative preferences in digital games. The survey included questions on sociodemographic information, frequency of gameplay, and an open-ended question on what could be an appealing narrative for them. Data were analyzed in a mixed-methods approach, using thematic analysis and chi-square analyses to determine narrative preferences and the associations between game narrative elements and player characteristics (gender, SES, and frequency of gameplay).
RESULTS: The sample consisted of 446 adolescents (12-15 years old) who described 30 narrative subthemes. Preferences included human characters as protagonists; nonhuman characters only as antagonists; realistic settings, such as public places or cities; and a strong conflict surrounding crime, catastrophe, or war. Girls more often than boys defined characters by their age, included avatars, located the narrative in private places, developed profession-related skills, and included a positive atmosphere. Adolescents of nonacademic education more often than adolescents of academic education defined characters by criminal actions. Infrequent players more often included human characters defined by their age than frequent players. After performing a Bonferroni correction, narrative preferences for several gender differences remained.
CONCLUSION: Different narrative elements related to subgroups of adolescents by gender, SES, and frequency of gameplay. Customization of narratives in serious digital health games should be warranted for boys and girls; yet, further research is needed to specify how to address girls in particular.},
  author       = {Schwarz, Ayla and Mertens, Lieze and Simons, Monique and Spook, Jorinde E and Thompson, Debbe and Cardon, Greet and De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse and Chastin, Sebastien and DeSmet, Ann},
  issn         = {2161-783X},
  journal      = {GAMES FOR HEALTH JOURNAL},
  keywords     = {physical activity & health,Serious games,Digital games,Narratives,Adolescents,Mixed method,Health promotion,CHILDHOOD OBESITY PREVENTION,COMPUTER GAMES,VIDEO GAMES,BEHAVIOR-CHANGE,SERIOUS GAMES,INSTRUCTIONAL-DESIGN,EMPIRICAL-EVIDENCE,HEALTH VIDEOGAME,STORY IMMERSION,ENGAGEMENT},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {10},
  title        = {Which game narratives do adolescents of different gameplay and sociodemographic backgrounds prefer? : a mixed-methods analysis},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/g4h.2017.0178},
  volume       = {8},
  year         = {2019},
}

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