Gameplay is commonly considered to be a voluntary activity. Game designers generally believe that voluntary gameplay is essentially different from mandatory gameplay. Such a belief may be a challenge for serious games, as instruction is usually mandatory. The article describes the outcomes of two experiments on the impact of voluntariness on the learning effect and enjoyment of a serious game. In the first experiment freedom of choosing to play a serious game was studied, with participants who had volunteered to participate. The results suggested that, contrary to the opinion of many game designers, being required to play a serious game does not automatically take the fun out of the game. The second experiment had voluntary participants and mandatory participants, who had to participate as part of a homework assignment. The outcomes show that mandatory participants enjoyed the game as much as the voluntary participants, even if they had to play the game for a minimum required time. These studies indicate that mandatory gameplay does not reduce enjoyment and learning effect.
Djaouti, D., Alvarez, J., Jessel, J., Rampnoux, O., Origins of Serious Games. In Ma, M., Oikonomou, A., Jain, L. (eds.), Serious Games and Edutainment Applications. Springer-Verlag, London (2011) 25-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-2161-9_3