Serious games are motivating and provide a safe environment for students to learn from their mistakes without experiencing any negative consequences from their actions. However, little is known about students’ gaming preferences and the types of serious games they like to play for education.
This study aims to determine the types of gaming aspects that students would like to play in a pharmacy-related serious game.
A cross-sectional study was conducted using a self-administered survey, which obtained students’ responses on their preferences regarding various gaming aspects (reward systems, game settings, storylines, viewing perspectives, and gaming styles) and for a hypothetical gaming scenario (authentic simulation or post-apocalyptic fantasy). Descriptive statistics, chi-square, and Fisher’s exact tests were used for statistical analyses.
Response rate was 72.7% (497/684 undergraduates). The most popular game reward systems were unlocking mechanisms (112/497, 22.5%) and experience points (90/497, 18.1%). Most students preferred fantasy/medieval/mythic (253/497, 50.9%) and modern (117/497, 23.5%) settings, but lower year undergraduates preferred modern settings less than upper year seniors (47/236, 19.9% vs 70/242, 28.9%, P=.022). Almost one-third (147/497, 29.6%) preferred an adventurer storyline or an authentic pharmacy-related plot (119/497, 23.9%), and a collaborative game style was most preferred by the students (182/497, 36.6%). Three-dimensional game perspectives (270/497, 54.3%) were more popular than two-dimensional perspectives (221/497, 44.5%), especially among males than females (126/185, 68.1% vs 142/303, 46.9%, P<.001). In terms of choice for a pharmacy-related serious game, a post-apocalyptic fantasy game (scenario B, 287/497, 57.7%) was more popular than an authentic simulation game (scenario A, 209/497, 42.1%). More males preferred the post-apocalyptic fantasy scenario than females (129/187, 69.0% vs 155/306, 50.7%, P<.001).
In general, students want a three-dimensional, fantasy/medieval/mythic post-apocalyptic game, based on an adventurer storyline with an unlocking mechanism reward system. A balance between real-life and fantasy elements needs to be struck in order for the game to cater students towards health care practices.
Djaouti D, Alvarez J, Jessel JP, Rampnoux O. Origins of serious games. In: Ma M, Oikonomou A, Jain LC, editors. Serious Games and Edutainment Applications. London: Springer; 2011:25-43.