Stories in Games for Health: More Pros or Cons?

  title={Stories in Games for Health: More Pros or Cons?},
  author={Moderator Tom Baranowski and A. Lu and Richard Buday and Elizabeth J Lyons and Jesse Schell and Carmen V. Russoniello},
  journal={Games for health journal},
  volume={2 5},
There has been a debate about whether entertainment videogames should incorporate story or narrative. A concern has been whether story cut scenes break game immersion, and thereby minimize the fun of gameplay. Alternatively, games for health (G4H) have an agenda that goes beyond just having fun. The possible role of story in G4H has not been thoroughly addressed. We have assembled a group of experts who have worked with stories in G4H, and asked some pointed questions. 

A Meta-analysis of Narrative Game-based Interventions for Promoting Healthy Behaviors

This meta-analysis found that narrative game-based interventions were effective in changing behaviors, knowledge, self-efficacy, and enjoyment and were moderated by factors such as the genre of the game, the genres of the story, group play, and participant age.

Using Narrative Game Design to Increase Children’s Physical Activity: Exploratory Thematic Analysis

This research provides preliminary evidence that narratives have characteristics that may increase child physical activity when playing active video games, and future empirical studies should verify and test these design principles.

Games for Health for Children-Current Status and Needed Research.

Although early outcome results are promising, additional research is needed to determine the game design and behavior change procedures that best promote G4H effectiveness and to identify and minimize possible adverse effects.

Interactive Narrative in a Mobile Health Behavioral Intervention (Tumaini): Theoretical Grounding and Structure of a Smartphone Game to Prevent HIV Among Young Africans

The central component of Tumaini is an interactive role-playing narrative in which the player makes choices for characters that determine how their paths unfold, and is designed to help young adolescents acquire the information, skills, and motivation they need to avoid and reduce sexual risks.

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BackgroundA substantial number of studies have been published on many games for diverse aspects of health. Despite the potential contributions of games for health (G4H), it has not been easy to

Which Game Narratives Do Adolescents of Different Gameplay and Sociodemographic Backgrounds Prefer? A Mixed-Methods Analysis.

Which narrative elements of digital game narratives are preferred by the general adolescent population are investigated, and associations with gender, socioeconomic status, and gameplay frequency are examined to discuss how results can be translated to serious digital games.

Descriptive Normative Nutrition Messages to Maximize Effect in a Videogame: Narrative Review.

Experimental research was identified as being necessary to delineate the individual and combined element effects, thereby contributing to the body of literature on videogame design and effectiveness.

Is gamification a suitable tool for increasing participant engagement with cognitive tests

Over the past decade, gamification – the use of game design elements in non-game contexts – has rapidly grown in popularity, piquing the interest of researchers in many fields, including cognitive

What are you thinking?: Using CBT and Storytelling to Improve Mental Health Among College Students

Depression and anxiety among college students have been on the rise globally. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has emerged as an empirically reinforced and effective treatment. However, factors like



Death with a story: How story impacts emotional, motivational, and physiological responses to first-person shooter video games

This study investigates how game playing experience changes when a story is added to a first-person shooter game. Dependent variables include identification, presence, emotional experiences and

A Motivational Model of Video Game Engagement

More Americans now play video games than go to the movies (NPD Group, 2009). The meteoric rise in popularity of video games highlights the need for research approaches that can deepen our scientific

Explaining the Effects of Narrative in an Entertainment Television Program: Overcoming Resistance to Persuasion

Research has examined the ability of entertainment-education (E-E) programs to influence behavior across a variety of health and social issues. However, less is known about the underlying mechanisms

The Ideal Self at Play

This research explored the idea that the appeal of games is due in part to their ability to provide players with novel experiences that let them “try on” ideal aspects of their selves that might not find expression in everyday life.

Experimental Evidence for Suspense as Determinant of Video Game Enjoyment

Results support the assumption that suspense is a driver of video game enjoyment.

Narrative versus Non-narrative: The Role of Identification, Transportation and Emotion in Reducing Health Disparities.

In response to the narrative featuring Latinas, Mexican Americans were most transported, identified most with the characters, and experienced the strongest emotions, suggesting narrative formats may provide a valuable tool in reducing health disparities.

The Video Game Experience as “True” Identification: A Theory of Enjoyable Alterations of Players' Self‐Perception

This article introduces an explication of video game players' identification with a game character or role that is based on social-psychological models of self-perception. Contrasting with

Understanding narrative effects: the impact of breast cancer survivor stories on message processing, attitudes, and beliefs among African American women.

OBJECTIVE Examine the longitudinal effects of personal narratives about mammography and breast cancer compared with a traditional informational approach. METHODS African American women (n = 489)

Efficacy of story in multimedia training

Story elements including genre, conflict, and character were used to create the basic structure of a 32-hour multimedia self-study business processes course and learners perceived various cultural qualities of the story and often compared their experience of the course to personal experiences.

Real-time moment-to-moment emotional responses to narrative and informational breast cancer videos in African American women.

It is suggested that stories can be used to communicate health information without distracting from core health content and strong emotions were more likely to correspond to contextual information about characters in the video and less likely to Correspond to health content among women who watched the narrative video.