Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects

Routledge
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Serious Games provides a thorough exploration of the claim that playing games can provide learning that is deep, sustained and transferable to the real world. "Serious games" is defined herein as any form of interactive computer-based game software for one or multiple players to be used on any platform and that has been developed to provide more than entertainment to players. With this volume, the editors address the gap in exisiting scholarship on gaming, providing an academic overview on the mechanisms and effects of serious games. Contributors investigate the psychological mechanisms that take place not only during gaming, but also in game selection, persistent play, and gaming impact.

The work in this collection focuses on the desirable outcomes of digital game play. The editors distinguish between three possible effects -- learning, development, and change -- covering a broad range of serious games’ potential impact. Contributions from internationally recognized scholars focus on five objectives:

  • Define the area of serious games
  • Elaborate on the underlying theories that explain suggested psychological mechanisms elicited through serious game play, addressing cognitive, affective and social processes
  • Summarize the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of serious games,
  • Introduce innovative research methods as a response to methodological challenges imposed through interactive media
  • Discuss the possibilities and limitations of selected applications for educational purposes.

Anchored primarily in social science research, the reader will be introduced to approaches that focus on the gaming process and the users’ experiences. Additional perspectives will be provided in the concluding chapters, written from non-social science approaches by experts in academic game design and representatives of the gaming industry. The editors acknowledge the necessity for a broader interdisciplinary study of the phenomena and work to overcome the methodological divide in games research to look ahead to a more integrated and interdisciplinary study of digital games.

This timely and singular volume will appeal to scholars, researchers, and graduate students working in media entertainment and game studies in the areas of education, media, communication, and psychology.

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About the author

Ute Ritterfeld, Professor for Media Psychology, received her education in the Health Sciences (Academy of Rehabilitation in Heidelberg) and in Psychology (University of Heidelberg), completed her Ph.D. in Psychology (Technical University in Berlin), and habilitated at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. She was Assistant Professor at the University of Magdeburg, Adjunct Professor at the Universities of Berlin (Humboldt) and Hannover, and Associate Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, Annenberg School for Communication. At USC, Ritterfeld directed an interdisciplinary research team devoted to the studies of digital games and hosted the inaugural academic conference on serious games. In 2007, Ritterfeld joined the faculty of Psychology and Education at the VU University Amsterdam and co-founded the Center for Advanced Media Research Amsterdam (CAMeRA@VU) where she serves as director of interdisciplinary research. Ritterfeld co-edits the Journal of Media Psychology published by Hogrefe.

Michael Cody is Professor of Communication at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. He earned his Ph.D. in Communication at Michigan State University in 1978, where he focused on research methods and face to face social influence processes. He has authored or edited books in persuasion, interpersonal communication and entertainment education. He is the editor of the Journal of Communication (2009-2012).

Peter Vorderer (Ph.D., Technical University of Berlin), is Scientific Director of the Center for Advanced Media Research Amsterdam (CAMeRA) and head of the Department of Communication Science, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He specializes in media use and media effects research with a special focus on media entertainment and digital games. Together with Dolf Zillmann and Jennings Bryant, he has edited three well-recognized volumes on media entertainment and video games.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Sep 10, 2009
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Pages
20
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ISBN
9781135848903
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Computers & Technology
Games & Activities / Video & Electronic
Language Arts & Disciplines / Communication Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Americans deserve honest government. Public officials should be honest. Unfortunately, these platitudes are not useful as ethical guidelines since much of what public officials do falls into ethically gray areas. This text addresses the need for a comprehensive statement of ethical behavior for public officials and employees at every level of government. Recognizing the need for legal reforms that focus mainly on campaign contributions, the authors examine the broader question of how we should measure the routine, day-to-day ethics of men and women in public service. By focussing more on attitudes and practices, the authors suggest that the highest standard of both ethics and competence should be demanded of all our public servants. The book identifies situations in which officials ought to act cautiously and presents the ethical rules that should be applied to each situation. The text presents a philosophy of public service and then moves to particular situations to which this philosophy must be applied: campaign finance; the campaign itself; behavior of elected officials, appointed officials, and public employees; the role of lobbyists; compensation for public servants; moving to and from the public and private sectors; ethical guidelines for lawyers and judges; the private lives of public servants; and enforcement of ethics. The final chapter discusses the sometimes competing forces of ethics and competency. Ethical guidelines are gathered in the appendix and serve as a useful starting point for ethics in any public service setting. The combination of persuasive and thought-provoking proposals for governmental ethics reform along with practical guidelines on how to maintain the highest possible standards of ethical conduct makes this an important text for students in ethics and government courses, as well as an imperative reading for public officials, whether elected, appointed, or career.
This volume begins with the general assumption that suspense is a major criterion for both an audience's selection and evaluation of entertaining media offerings. This assumption is supported not only by the popularity of suspenseful narratives, but also by the reasons users give for their actual choice of media contents. Despite this, there is no satisfying theory to describe and explain what suspense actually is, how exactly it is caused by films or books, and what kind of effect it has on audiences. This book's main objective is to provide that theory by bringing together scholars from different disciplines who are working on the issue. The editors' goal is to reflect the "state of the art" as much as it is to highlight and encourage further developments in this area.

There are two ways of approaching the problem of describing and explaining suspense: an analysis of suspenseful texts or the reception process. Researchers who follow the more text-oriented approach identify the uncertainty of the narrative outcome, the threat or danger for the protagonist, the play with time delay, or other factors as important and necessary for the production of suspense. The more reception-oriented scholar focuses on the cognitive activities of audiences, readers' expectations, the curiosity of onlookers, their emotions, and their relationships with the protagonists. A correspondence between the two seems to be quite difficult, though necessary to determine.

Both perspectives are important in order to describe and explain suspense. Thus, the editors utilize the thesis that suspense is an activity of the audience (reader, onlooker, etc.) that is related to specific features and characteristics of the text (books, films, etc.). Their question is: What kind of relation? The answer comes from finding out how, why, and which elements of the text cause effects that are experienced as suspense.

Scholars from semiotics, literary criticism, cultural studies, and film theory assess the problem from a text-oriented point of view, dealing primarily with the how and which. Other scholars present the psychological perspective by focusing on the cognitive and emotional processes that underlie viewers' experience of suspense; that is, the reception theory tries to answer the question of why suspenseful texts may be experienced as they are.
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