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 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.

JMIR Serious Games is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, DOAJ, Scopus, and SCIE/Web of Science. In June 2020, JSG received an impact factor of 3.53. JSG has also been accepted for indexing in PsycINFO.

Recent Articles

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Formative Evaluation and Development of Games

Inflammatory arthritides (IA) such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis are disorders that can be difficult to comprehend for health professionals and students in terms of the heterogeneity of clinical symptoms and pathologies. New didactic approaches using innovative technologies such as virtual reality (VR) apps could be helpful to demonstrate disease manifestations as well as joint pathologies in a more comprehensive manner. However, the potential of using a VR education concept in IA has not yet been evaluated.

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Game Addiction and Other Unintended Consequences

School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated students’ loneliness, addictive gaming behaviors, and poor mental health. These mental health issues confronting young people are of public concern.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Patients with MS experience a wide range of physical and cognitive dysfunctions that affect their quality of life. A promising training approach that concurrently trains physical and cognitive functions is video game–based physical exercising (ie, exergaming). Previous studies have indicated that exergames have positive effects on balance and cognitive functions in patients with MS. However, there is still a need for specific, user-centered exergames that function as a motivating and effective therapy tool for patients with MS and studies investigating their usability and feasibility.

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Serious Games for Education

Serious games can be a powerful learning tool in higher education. However, the literature indicates that the learning outcome in a serious game depends on the facilitators’ competencies. Although professional facilitators in commercial game-based training have undergone specific instruction, facilitators in higher education cannot rely on such formal instruction, as game facilitation is only an occasional part of their teaching activities.

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Gamification

The proportion of smokers making quit attempts and the proportion of smokers successfully quitting have been decreasing over the past few years. Previous studies have shown that smokers with high self-efficacy and motivation to quit have an increased likelihood of quitting and staying quit. Consequently, further research on strategies that can improve the self-efficacy and motivation of smokers seeking to quit could lead to substantially higher cessation rates. Some studies have found that gamification can positively impact the cognitive components of behavioral change, including self-efficacy and motivation. However, the impact of gamification in the context of smoking cessation and mobile health has been sparsely investigated.

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Game Design and Efficacy of Game Elements

Gamification in education enhances learners’ motivation, problem-solving abilities, decision-making abilities, and social skills such as communication. Numerous ongoing studies are examining the application of gamification design methodology and game mechanics to a learning environment. Leaderboards are a type of game mechanic that assist learners in goal setting and unleash the motivation for learning.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Anorexia nervosa is one of the more severe eating disorders, which is characterized by reduced food intake, leading to emaciation and psychological maladjustment. Treatment outcomes are often discouraging, with most interventions displaying a recovery rate below 50%, a dropout rate from 20% to 50%, and a high risk of relapse. Patients with anorexia nervosa often display anxiety and aversive behaviors toward food. Virtual reality has been successful in treating vertigo, anxiety disorder, and posttraumatic stress syndrome, and could potentially be used as an aid in treating eating disorders.

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Games for Rehabilitation

Increasing evidence supports the use of virtual reality systems to improve upper limb motor functions in individuals with cerebral palsy. While virtual reality offers the possibility to include key components to promote motor learning, it remains unclear if and how motor learning principles are incorporated into the development of rehabilitation interventions using virtual reality.

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Serious Games for Education

In 2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, public health systems worldwide faced severe challenges. Amid the pandemic, one simulation game, Plague Inc., has received substantial attention. This game has indirectly drawn greater public attention to public health issues by simulating pathogen transmission and disease symptoms.

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Game Design and Efficacy of Game Elements

Games, when used as interventional tools, can influence behavior change by incentivizing, reinforcing, educating, providing feedback loops, prompting, persuading, or providing meaning, fun, and community. However, not all game elements will appeal to all consumers equally, and different elements might work for different people and in different contexts.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Public health sun safety campaigns introduced during the 1980s have successfully reduced skin cancer rates in Australia. Despite this success, high rates of sunburn continue to be reported by youth and young adults. As such, new strategies to reinforce sun protection approaches in this demographic are needed.

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Serious Games for Education

University teaching methods are changing, and in response to a classical teacher-centered approach, new methods continue to strengthen knowledge acquisition by involving students more actively in their learning, thus achieving greater motivation and commitment.

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