JMIR Serious Games

A multidisciplinary journal on gaming and gamification including simulation and immersive virtual reality for health education/promotion, teaching, medicine, rehabilitation, and social change

Editor-in-Chief:

Nabil Zary, MD, PhD, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Science, Dubai, UAE


Impact Factor 4.14

JMIR Serious Games (JSG, ISSN 2291-9279; Impact Factor: 4.14) is a multidisciplinary journal devoted to computer/web/virtual reality/mobile applications that incorporate elements of gaming, gamification or novel hardware platforms such as virtual reality headsets or Microsoft Kinect to solve serious problems such as health behavior change, physical exercise promotion (exergaming), medical rehabilitation, diagnosis and treatment of psychological/psychiatric disorders, medical education, health promotion, teaching and education, or social change. The journal also considers commentary and research in the fields of video games violence and video games addiction.

JMIR Serious Games is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, DOAJ, Scopus, and SCIE/Web of Science. In June 2021, JSG received an impact factor of 4.14. JSG has also been accepted for indexing in PsycINFO.

Recent Articles

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Slow-paced breathing has been shown to be positively associated with psychological and physiological health. In practice, however, there is little long-term engagement with breathing training, as shown by the usage statistics of breathing training apps. New research suggests that gameful smartphone-delivered breathing training may address this challenge.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Currently, children’s dietary intake patterns do not meet prescribed dietary guidelines. Consequently, childhood obesity is one of the most serious health concerns. Therefore, innovative methods need to be developed and tested in order to effectively improve the dietary intake of children. Teaching children how to cope with the overwhelming number of unhealthy food cues could be conducted effectively by serious health games.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects between 4% and 8% of children worldwide. The treatment of choice is multimodal treatment. Multimodal interventions for ADHD may be improved by incorporating new treatments, such as treatment via serious video games. The Secret Trail of Moon (TSTM) is a virtual reality serious video game that was designed for cognitive training related to core ADHD symptoms and executive dysfunction.

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Games for Medical Education and Training

In the health care environment, teamwork is paramount, especially when referring to patient safety. We are interested in recent and innovative solutions such as escape games, which is a type of adventure game that may be highly useful as an educational tool, potentially combining good communication skills with successful gamification. They involve teams of 5 to 10 individuals who are “locked” in the same room and must collaborate to solve puzzles while under pressure from a timer.

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Games for Rehabilitation

It has been noted in the literature that there is a gap between clinical assessment and real-world performance. Real-world conversations entail visual and audio information, yet there are not any audiological assessment tools that include visual information. Virtual reality (VR) technology has been applied to various areas, including audiology. However, the use of VR in speech-in-noise perception has not yet been investigated.

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Games for Rehabilitation

In Canada, only 11% of stroke survivors have access to outpatient and community-based rehabilitation after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Hence, innovative community-based strategies are needed to provide adequate postrehabilitation services. The VirTele program, which combines virtual reality exergames and a telerehabilitation app, was developed to provide stroke survivors with residual upper extremity deficits, the opportunity to participate in a personalized home rehabilitation program.

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Games for Rehabilitation

Pediatric and adolescent athletes are a large demographic undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL-R). Postoperative rehabilitation is critical, requiring patients to complete home exercise programs (HEPs). To address obstacles to HEP adherence, we developed an interactive health technology, interACTION (iA), to monitor knee-specific rehabilitation. iA is a web-based platform that incorporates wearable motion sensors and a mobile app that provides feedback and allows remote monitoring. The Wheel of Sukr is a gamification mechanism that includes numerous behavioral elements.

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Exergames, Active Games and Gamification of Physical Activity

A common leisure-time activity amongst youth and adults in the United States is video gameplay. Playing video games is typically a sedentary endeavor; however, to encourage an increased level of physical activity in an engaging and enjoyable way, active video gaming has become popular. Unfortunately, the accessibility of gaming controllers is often an issue for persons with disabilities. A commercial off-the-shelf (OTS) gaming mat was adapted to facilitate use by individuals with mobility impairments to address this issue.

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Games for Medical Education and Training

On the basis of ethical and methodological arguments, numerous calls have been made to increase the involvement of end users in the development of serious games (SGs). Involving end users in the development process is considered a way to give them power and control over educational software that is designed for them. It can also help identify areas for improvement in the design of SGs and improve their efficacy in targeted learning outcomes. However, no recognized guidelines or frameworks exist to guide end users’ involvement in SG development.

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Games for Cognitive Assessment

Serious games are now widely used in many contexts, including psychological research and clinical use. One area of growing interest is that of cognitive assessment, which seeks to measure different cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and perception. Measuring these functions at both the population and individual levels can inform research and indicate health issues. Attention is an important function to assess, as an accurate measure of attention can help diagnose many common disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and dementia. However, using games to assess attention poses unique problems, as games inherently manipulate attention through elements such as sound effects, graphics, and rewards, and research on adding game elements to assessments (ie, gamification) has shown mixed results. The process for developing cognitive tasks is robust, with high psychometric standards that must be met before these tasks are used for assessment. Although games offer more diverse approaches for assessment, there is no standard for how they should be developed or evaluated.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Cognitive frailty refers to the coexistence of physical frailty and cognitive impairment, and is associated with many adverse health outcomes. Although cognitive frailty is prevalent in older people, motor-cognitive training is effective at enhancing cognitive and physical function. We proposed a virtual reality (VR) simultaneous motor-cognitive training program, which allowed older people to perform daily activities in a virtual space mimicking real environments.

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Formative Evaluation and Development of Games

Talking about experiences of sexual abuse in therapy is difficult for children and adolescents. Possible reasons for this difficulty are a lack of vocabulary to describe the situation or feelings of shame, fear, and self-blame associated with sexual abuse. The serious game Vil Du?! was developed to help children open up about their sexual abuse experiences. Vil Du?! is a nonverbal communication game that resembles a dress-up game in which children can show the therapist what happened to them.

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