Objective: Serious games are becoming popular in various healthcare domains. However, they should be designed to cater toward learners' perspectives, needs, and specifications in order to be used to their full potential in education. This study investigated the gaming experiences, motivations, and preferences of pharmacy students.
Materials and Methods: An anonymous self-administered survey obtained participant demographics, gaming experiences (enjoyment level of different game genres, years of experience, gaming frequency and duration, and motivations), and gaming preferences (on in-game rewards, settings, storylines, perspectives, and styles). Descriptive statistics, t tests, analysis of variance, chi-squared tests, and Fisher's exact tests were used for analysis.
Results: The response rate was 69.1 percent (465/673 undergraduates). Role-playing games (RPGs) (4.12 ± 1.07) and massively multiplayer online RPGs (MMORPGs) (3.81 ± 1.26) had the highest enjoyment ratings. Males enjoyed imagination games (e.g., RPGs, MMORPGs) more than females, whereas females enjoyed simulation games more. Top motivating factors for respondents were progressing to the next level (3.63 ± 1.19), excitement (3.33 ± 1.33), and a feeling of efficacy when playing (3.02 ± 1.16). Unlocking mechanisms (25.2 percent) and experience points (17.6 percent) were the most popular in-game reward systems. Most respondents preferred a fantasy/medieval/mythic setting (59.8 percent) and an adventurer storyline (41.3 percent), with similar proportions preferring competitive (35.3 percent), cooperative (33.3 percent), and collaborative (30.8 percent) game styles.
Conclusions: Different groups of pharmacy students differ in their gaming experiences, motivating factors, and preferences. There is no “one size fits all” game that is suitable for all pharmacy education. Such differences should be considered when developing a pharmacy game in order to cater to the diverse student population.