How to play your way to health: Designing a game for diabetes education and behavior change
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Using video games to improve people's health condition is an increasing trend in the healthcare industry, as research keeps showing the evidence of their effectiveness in this area. In the academic world, this type of games falls under the genre of serious games: games that are educational rather than merely entertaining, and video games for health are developed to target different diseases. Diabetes in particular has had a certain amount of special attention. This is, no doubt, due to the fact that diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases that is presently affecting a large and ever increasing population across the globe. Video games designed to facilitate diabetes education have been around since the 90s, and just like other serious games, diabetes games also showed effectiveness in promoting patients' health. Most of the existing research regarding serious games applies a scientific focus to evaluate outcomes in relation to patient behavior. The effectiveness of these games is measured by the collection over time of different data and statistics. Serious game design and study is a hybrid entity composed of many different disciplines, including fields of both science and art. Although such study does heavily rely on science, there is a need to hear from the artistic perspective as all concepts and science have to be presented in an artistic way in order to be effective. In this context, game design can be a form of artistic practice So far, not too much has been done to examine the design aspects of games for health and how these affect a patient's receptiveness to proper treatment of their disease. This research targets game design for diabetes promotion and education, looking at the design aspects of diabetes games. It will not only explore the theoretical framework that support those games behind the scene, but will also examine elements of games, including narrative, interaction design, game mechanics design, character design, and how theories and practice work together to create experience that are both entertaining and educational.