JMIR Serious Games

Editor-in-Chief:

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


Impact Factor 3.53

JMIR Serious Games (JSG, ISSN 2291-9279; Impact Factor: 3.53) 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.

The journal is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, DOAJ, and SCIE/Web of Science, and JCR (Journal Citation Reports) where it received an official impact factor by Clarivate. In June 2020, JSG received an impact factor of 3.53 (Journal Citation Reports 2019, Web of Science).

Recent Articles

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Game Addiction and Other Unintended Consequences

Video game loot boxes, which can typically be purchased by players or are given as reward, contain random virtual items, or loot, ranging from simple customization options for a player's avatar or character, to game-changing equipment such as weapons and armor. Loot boxes have drawn concern, as purchasing loot boxes might lead to the development of problematic gambling for adolescents. Although parental problem gambling is associated with adolescent problem gambling, no studies have evaluated the prevalence of loot box purchases in adolescents’ parents.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Slow-paced breathing training (6 breaths per minute [BPM]) improves physiological and psychological well-being by inducing relaxation characterized by increased heart rate variability (HRV). However, classic breathing training has a limited target group, and retention rates are very low. Although a gameful approach may help overcome these challenges, it is crucial to enable breathing training in a scalable context (eg, smartphone only) and ensure that they remain effective. However, despite the health benefits, no validated mobile gameful breathing training featuring a biofeedback component based on breathing seems to exist.

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Games for Rehabilitation

Brain plasticity is an important factor in prosthesis usage. This plasticity helps with brain adaptation to learn new movement and coordination patterns needed to control a prosthetic hand. It can be achieved through repetitive muscle training that is usually very exhausting and often results in considerable reduction in patient motivation. Previous studies have shown that a playful concept in rehabilitation can increase patient engagement and perseverance.

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Games for Rehabilitation

Serious games have been investigated for their use in multiple forms of rehabilitation for decades. The rising trend to use games for physical fitness in more recent years has also provided more options and garnered more interest for their use in physical rehabilitation and motor learning. In this study, we report the results of an opinion survey of serious games in upper limb prosthetic training.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

International asthma guidelines recommend the monitoring of peak expiratory flow (PEF) as part of asthma self-management in children and adolescents who poorly perceive airflow obstruction, those with a history of severe exacerbations, or those who have difficulty controlling asthma. Measured with a peak flow meter, PEF represents a person’s maximum speed of expiration and helps individuals to follow their disease evolution and, ultimately, to prevent asthma exacerbations. However, patient adherence to regular peak flow meter use is poor, particularly in pediatric populations. To address this, we developed an interactive tablet-based game with a portable game controller that can transduce a signal from the user’s breath to generate a PEF value.

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Exergames, Active Games and Gamification of Physical Activity

Older people often do not meet the recommended levels of exercise required to reduce functional decline. Social interaction is mentioned by this cohort as a reason for joining group-based exercises, which does not occur when exercising alone. This perspective shows that exergames can be used as motivational resources. However, most available exergames are generic, obtained from commercial sources, and usually not specifically designed or adapted for older people.

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Game Development

Early adolescent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection prevention are significant public health challenges in the United States. Parental influence can help adolescents make responsible and informed sexual health decisions toward delayed sexual debut; yet parents often feel ill equipped to communicate about sex-related topics. Intergenerational games offer a potential strategy to provide life skills training to young adolescents (aged 11-14 years) while engaging them and their parents in communication about sexual health.

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Exergames, Active Games and Gamification of Physical Activity

People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are less active have lower quality of life, greater risk of exacerbations, and greater mortality than those who are more active. The effectiveness of physical activity interventions may facilitate the addition of game elements to improve engagement. The use of a co-design approach with people with COPD and clinicians as co-designers may also improve the effectiveness of the intervention.

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Games for Medical Education and Training

Serious games are being used to train specific technical skills in medicine, and most research has been done for surgical skills. It is not known if these games improve technical skills in real life as most games have not been completely validated.

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Gamification

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. HPV attributes to most cancers including anal, oral, cervical, and penile. Despite infection rates in the United States, recommendations and communication campaigns have traditionally focused on females. Because of this, males lack knowledge about reasons for vaccination, the benefits of being vaccinated, and their HPV risk, overall. Gaming as a health education strategy can be beneficial as mechanism that can promote behavior change for this key demographic because of the popularity of gaming.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Most cancer treatments today take place in outpatient clinics; however, it might be necessary for some patients to be admitted to hospital departments due to severe side effects or complications. In such situations, support from family and social relations can be crucial for the patients’ emotional well-being. Many young adolescents and children whose parents have cancer describe how they are not seen, heard, or listened to as the worried relatives they are. Within the intensive care unit, it has been recommended that early supportive interventions are tailored to include children of the intensive care patient; a similar approach might be relevant in the oncological setting. To our knowledge, no studies have explored how to involve young relatives who are visiting their parent at an oncological department. Recently, a framework for developing theory-driven, evidence-based serious games for health has been suggested. Such a process would include stakeholders from various disciplines, who only work toward one specific solution. However, it is possible that bringing together different disciplines, such as design, art, and health care, would allow a broader perspective, resulting in improved solutions.

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Formative Evaluation and Development of Games

Individuals with internet gaming disorder (IGD) report facing family conflicts repeatedly because of their excessive internet gaming. With recent advancements in virtual reality (VR) technology, VR therapy has emerged as a promising method for the management of various psychiatric disorders, including IGD. Given that several risk and protective factors for young people with addiction can be influenced by their interpersonal context, the potential utility of VR-based apps for managing family conflicts needs to be examined with reference to IGD management. However, few studies have evaluated potential treatment modules related to interpersonal conflict management, such as emotion regulation and taking the perspective of others.

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