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Lost in Translation: Comparing the Impact of an Analog and Digital Version of a Public Health Game on Players’ Perceptions, Attitudes, and Cognitions

Geoff F. Kaufman and Mary Flanagan
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Geoff F. Kaufman: Tiltfactor Laboratory, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
Mary Flanagan: Tiltfactor Laboratory, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), 2013, vol. 5, issue 3, 1-9

Abstract: In light of a growing body of work demonstrating the ability of games to transform cognitive skill sets and change attitudes toward social issues, including in public health, it is crucial to understand the potentially divergent experiences and outcomes afforded by analog and digital platforms. In a recent empirical study, the authors addressed the basic question of whether transferring a public health game from an analog to a digital format would impact players’ perceptions of the game and the efficacy of the game for stimulating changes to beliefs and cognitions. Results revealed that the digital version of the game, despite being a nearly identical translation, was perceived by players to be more complicated than the analog version and, consequently, was less effective at facilitating learning and attitude change. The authors propose several explanations for this finding, based on psychological theories, to help elucidate critical distinctions between non-digital and digital game play phenomenology.

Date: 2013
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