Design Parameters in Multimodal Games for Rehabilitation
Objectives: The repetitive and sometimes mundane nature of conventional rehabilitation therapy provides an ideal opportunity for development of interactive and challenging therapeutic games that have the potential to engage and motivate the players. Certain game design parameters that may encourage patients to actively participate by making the games more enjoyable have been identified. In this article, we describe a formative study in which we designed and evaluated some of these parameters with healthy subjects. Materials and Methods: The ‘‘operant conditioning’’ and ‘‘scoring’’ design parameters were incorporated in a remake of a classic labyrinth game, ‘‘Marble Maze.’’ A group of participants (n = 37) played the game twice: Once in the control condition without both modalities and then with either one of the parameters or with both. Measures of game duration and number of fails in the game were recorded along with survey questionnaires to measure player perceptions of intrinsic motivation on the game. Results: Longer playtimes, higher levels of interest/enjoyment, and effort to play the game were recorded with the introduction of these parameters. Conclusions: This study provides an understanding on how game design parameters can be used to motivate and encourage people to play longer. With these positive results, future aims are to test the parameters with stroke patients, providing much clearer insight as to what influences these parameters have on patients un- dergoing therapy. The ultimate goal is to utilize game design in order to maintain longer therapeutic interaction between a patient and his or her therapy medium.