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 3.36

JMIR Serious Games (JSG, ISSN 2291-9279; Impact Factor 3.36) 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 game violence and video game addiction.

In June 2022, JSG received a Journal Impact Factor of 3.36 (5-Year Impact Factor 4.30) (2021 Journal Impact Factor, Journal Citation Reports, (Clarivate, 2022)). JMIR Serious Games is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, DOAJ, Scopus, and SCIE/Web of Science. JSG has also been accepted for indexing in PsycINFO.

Recent Articles

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Reviews

Memory, one of the main cognitive functions, is known to decline with age. Serious games have been used for improving memory in older adults. The effectiveness of serious games in improving memory has been assessed by many studies. To draw definitive conclusions about the effectiveness of serious games, the findings of these studies need to be pooled and aggregated.

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Reviews

Virtual reality (VR) is used as a distraction measure during painful clinical procedures associated with the use of needles. These procedures include vaccinations, blood draws, or the administration of medications, which can cause children to feel increased levels of pain and fear.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Mixed reality (MR) devices provide real-time environments for physical-digital interactions across many domains. Owing to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, MR technologies have supported many new use cases in the health care industry, enabling social distancing practices to minimize the risk of contact and transmission. Despite their novelty and increasing popularity, public evaluations are sparse and often rely on social interactions among users, developers, researchers, and potential buyers.

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Formative Evaluation and Development of Games

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, several studies have reported that young adults encountered a rise in anxiety symptoms, which could negatively affect their quality of life. Promising evidence suggests that mobile apps with biofeedback, serious games, breathing exercises, and positive messaging, among other features, are useful for anxiety self-management and treatment.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Video game–based therapeutic interventions have demonstrated some effectiveness in decreasing the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Compared with more traditional strategies within the multimodal treatment of ADHD, video games have certain advantages such as being comfortable, flexible, and cost-efficient. However, establishing the most appropriate type(s) of video games that should be used for this treatment remains a matter of debate, including the commercial existing video games or serious video games that are specifically constructed to target specific disorders. This guide represents a starting point for developing serious video games aimed at treating ADHD. We summarize the key points that need to be addressed to generate an effective and motivating game-based treatment. Following recommendations from the literature to create game-based treatments, we describe the development stages of a serious video game for treating ADHD. Game design should consider the interests of future users; game mechanics should be based on cognitive exercises; and therapeutic mechanisms must include the control of difficulty, engagement, motivation, time constraints, and reinforcement. To elaborate upon this guide, we performed a narrative review focused on the use of video games for the treatment of ADHD, and were inspired by our own experience during the development of the game “The Secret Trail of Moon.”

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Games for Cognitive Assessment

The number of serious games for cognitive training in aging (SGCTAs) is proliferating in the market and attempting to combat one of the most feared aspects of aging—cognitive decline. However, the efficacy of many SGCTAs is still questionable. Even the measures used to validate SGCTAs are up for debate, with most studies using cognitive measures that gauge improvement in trained tasks, also known as near transfer. This study takes a different approach, testing the efficacy of the SGCTA—Effectivate—in generating tangible far-transfer improvements in a nontrained task—the Eye tracking of Word Identification in Noise Under Memory Increased Load (E-WINDMIL)—which tests speech processing in adverse conditions.

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User Needs Assessment for Games

A major factor hampering the adoption of technology in mental health care is a lack of knowledge and skills. Serious gaming offers a potentially effective strategy to enhance the skills needed through experiencing and learning-by-doing in a playful way. However, serious gaming solutions are not widely available for mental health care. Therefore, the development of a game-based training environment in mental health care was pursued in a design project. The first step in such a design project is to identify user requirements that should be met.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Novel nonpharmacological therapies are being developed to prevent cognitive decline and reduce behavioral and psychological symptoms in patients with dementia. Virtual reality (VR) reminiscence was reported to improve anxiety, apathy, and cognitive function immediately after intervention in individuals at residential aged care facilities. However, its effect on elderly patients with dementia and how long this effect could last remain unknown.

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Serious Games for Health and Medicine

Executive functions are one of the known cognitive abilities that decline with age. They are the high-order cognitive processes that enable an individual to concentrate, plan, and take action. Serious games, which are games developed for specific purposes other than entertainment, could play a positive role in improving executive functions. Several systematic reviews have pooled the evidence about the effectiveness of serious games in improving executive functions; however, they are limited by some weaknesses.

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Games for Medical Education and Training

Recently, the demand for mechanical ventilation (MV) has increased with the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the conventional approaches to MV training are resource intensive and require on-site training. Consequently, the need for independent learning platforms with remote assistance in institutions without resources has surged.

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Games for Rehabilitation

Many essential walking activities in daily life, such as crossing a street, are challenging to practice in conventional therapeutic settings. Virtual environments (VEs) delivered through a virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) would allow training such activities in a safe and attractive environment. Furthermore, the game-like character and high degree of immersion in these applications might help maintain or increase children’s motivation and active participation during the rehabilitation process.

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Games for Rehabilitation

In aging societies, dementia risk increases with advancing age, increasing the incidence of dementia-related degenerative diseases and other complications, especially fall risk. Dementia also escalates the care burden, impacting patients, their families, social welfare institutions, and the social structure and medical system.

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