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CS798 | Games for Health Spring 2014

Organizational Meeting:
Friday May 9, 2014 9:30-11:20
Davis Centre 2568

DC2568 is on the second floor of the Davis Centre in the south wing. Go up the stairs by the Tim Horton's Express in the atrium on the ground floor of the Davis Centre. At the top of the stairs, turn right and walk forward through the double doors. DC2568 is in the third hallway down on the left.

Readings for each week are either available for short-term loan in the Davis Centre Library (see call numbers below) or online (see links below).

Course Description

CS798 Games for Health is a graduate reading seminar and game design course that will review the current major applications of games in healthcare. Readings will cover the major fields in healthcare where games are being used. Case studies will survey a representative set of current health-related games, from best-practices to examples indicating just how far this application area has yet to develop.

The coursework will involve: a game design project and presentation, presentation of papers, review of case studies, and class discussion. Paper presentations and case studies may be done individually or by a two-person team.

The course project will involve: the design (but not necessarily implementation) of a health-related game. The design project may be done individually or by a team of up to four persons.

No programming will be required, although students who are interested in taking their game design further towards a working implementation may do so. Note though: Marks for the project will not be based on an implementation.

The project can be tailored to students' specific interests, i.e., students may choose to emphasize one or more aspects of game design: game play/game mechanics, narrative, character development, visual design, etc.

Non-Computer Science students are welcome to enrol in the course after the first week of classes if there is sufficient space.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course students should have a good understanding of the current major topic areas for health-related games, an appreciation for what makes for good "gamification" in healthcare, and the ability to apply good game design principles in healthcare applications.


10% Project proposal (one page) (due Friday June 20)
40% Project design document (due Friday August 15)
10% Project presentation (20-minute, including questions) (in last two classes July 18 and 25)
30% Presentations of paper reviews and game case studies
10% Participation in class discussions

Project Guidelines and General Course Administration

***UPDATED APRIL 30*** (library call numbers included)



Auditors are welcome if there is sufficient space in the classroom.


Jane McGonigal
Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world
Penguin Books, 2011

DC Library Short-term loan call number: R859.7.C65 S47 2013 (Library copy)

DC Library Short-term loan call number: UWD 1547 (additional copies)


S. Arnab, I. Dunwell, and K. Debattista (editors)
Serious games for healthcare: Applications and implications
IGI Global, 2013

DC Library Short-term loan call number: R859.7.C65 S47 2013 (Library copy)

DC Library Short-term loan call number: UWD 1594 (additional copy)


K. Bredl and W. Bosche (editors)
Serious games and virtual worlds in education, professional development, and healthcare IGI Global, 2013

DC Library Short-term loan call number: LB1044.87 .S48 2013 (Library copy)

DC Library Short-term loan call number: UWD 1568 (additional copy)


B. Schouten, S. Fedtke, T. Bekker, M. Schijven, and A. Gekker (editors)
Games for health: Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Gaming and Playful Interaction in Health Care
Springer, 2013

DC Library Short-term loan call number: UWD 1490


References on Game Design

Tracy Fullerton
Game design workshop: A playcentric approach to creating innovative games
A K Peters/CRC Press, third edition, 2014

DC Library Short-term loan call number: UWD 1574


Jesse Schell
The art of game design: A book of lenses
CRC Press, first edition, 2008

Note: The second edition is coming out in September 2014

DC Library Short-term loan call number: UWD 1521


Jesse Schell
The art of game design: A deck of lenses
Schell Games; 1st edition, 2008
(cards to accompany the book)

DC Library Short-term loan call number: UWD 1507


Other Resources

Games for Health Conference

Game Developers Conference

Serious Play Conference

Jane McGonigal's website:

Course Outline

Session 1: Organizational Meeting/What is a (Serious) Game?

Friday May 9 9:30-11:20 DC2568

Getting Started with an Overview

Administrivia slides

***Updated Friday May 9***



Jane McGonigal
Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world
Penguin Books, 2011
Chapters 1, 14, Conclusion

***Updated Wednesday May 7***

Session 1 slides


Sessions 2, 3 and first part of 4: Characteristics of Serious Games

Session 2

Friday May 16 9:50-11:20 DC2568



Arnab et al., Chapter 2, "Healthcare games and the metaphoric approach"
Presenters: Daniel

Case studies

World Without Oil
Presenters: Jiayi, Tianqi

Session 3 ***UPDATED MAY 16***

Friday May 23 9:30-11:20 DC2568


Virtual Worlds

Arnab et al., Chapter 1, "Virtual worlds in healthcare: Applications and implications"
Presenters: Jeffrey


Brendl and Bosche, Chapter 1, "Concepts behind serious games and computer-based trainings in health care: Immersion, presence, flow"
Presenters: Rupinder

Game Engines

Arnab et al., Chapter 4, "First-person shooter game engines and healthcare: An examination of the current state of the art and future potential"
Presenters: Mashrur, Nashid

Case studies

Fold It!
Presenters: Ankita, Madhur

Session 4: Characteristics of Serious Games / Exergaming

***UPDATED MAY 16***

Friday May 30 9:30-11:20 DC2568


General background on exergaming

Case studies

Quest to Learn
Presenters: James, Najme

EyeWire: A Game to Map the Brain
About EyeWire:
Where to sign up to play the game:
Presenters: Brent, Richard

Zombies, Run!
Presenters: Carolyn


Ian Bogost, "The rhetoric of exergaming"
Discussion leader: Chrysanne

T. Baranowski et al. "Playing for real: Video games and stories for health-related behavior change", Am J Prev Med, Jan 2008: 34(1): 74-82.e10
Discussion leader: Chrysanne

Session 5: Nutrition games


Friday June 6 9:30-11:20 DC2568


Arnab et al., Chapter 8, "Nutrition games"
Presenters: Mina

Case study: World hunger

Student choice
Presenters: Ankita, Madhur
Food force: (New release as of 2009) (Original Food Force version)

This game was introduced as a UN World food program initiative to provide balanced nutrition and food to drought and war hit areas. The player is put in an imaginative war and drought hit area called Sheylan where he/she is given 6 missions to accomplish which deal with providing nutrition and food to the masses. For future benefit, the game also includes a mission to make the villages self-sufficient with the idea of future farming.

Case study: Nutrition games overview

Presenters: Cesar

Case study: Nutrition games for kids

Student choice
Presenters: Natalie, Richard

Session 6: Finishing Exergaming/Rehabilitation games

Friday June 13 9:30-11:20 DC2568

Case study: Exergaming

Nike+, Fitbit, and more
Presenters: Daniel

Nike+ variants

Readings: Rehabilitation games

Arnab et al., Chapter 3, "Rehabilitation gaming"
Presenters: Xiao, Wei

Schouten et al, pp85-98, "IGER: A game engine specifically tailored to rehabilitation"
Presenters: Rahul, Harshdeep

Session 7: More on rehabilitation/Games for the elderly


Friday June 20 9:30-11:20 DC2568

Case study: Rehabilitation games


Video at:

Presenter: Carolyn



Bredl and Bosche, Chapter 16, "Exergames for elderly persons: Physical exercise software based on motion tracking within the framework of ambient assisted living"
Presenters: Jiayi, Tianqi

Social inclusion

Bredl and Bosche, Chapter 17, "Social inclusion through virtual worlds"
Presenters: Smrithi, Vishnu

Additional case study

Presenters: None

Session 8: Games for mental health

Friday June 27 9:30-11:20 DC2568

Readings and case study

Second Life
Presenters: Smrithi, Vishnu

Additional readings

Schouten et al., pp247-256, "Development of a theory-based applied game for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: proof of feasibility"
Presenters: Xichao, Jiawei

Schouten et al., pp219-232, "A taxonomy of serious games for dementia"
Presenter: Rupinder

Additional case study

Student choice
Presenter: Cesar

Session 9: Public and global health

Friday July 4 9:30-11:20 DC2568


Bredl and Bosche, Chapter 18, "Multiplayer online role playing games for health communication in Brazil"
Presenters: Xiao, Wei

Schouten et al., pp3-14, "A serious game to inform about HIV prevention: HInvaders, a case study"
Presenters: Xichao

Case study: Early childhood health

USC Institute for Global Health "1000 Days FaceBook Game"
Video at:!/article/41787/usc-global-health-game-maintains-relevance/

Play the game at:

Presenters: Nashid, Md Mashrur

Additional case study: HIV awareness

Student choice:
Presenters: Najme, Brent

Who is HIV Positive or not?: Challenging assumptions

Session 10: Ethics and Evaluation/Business Models for Health Games/A Final Word

Friday July 11 9:30-11:20 DC2568



Arnab et al., Chapter 5, "Ethics in the design of serious games for healthcare and medicine"
Presenter: Jiawei


(Background reading only) Bredl and Bosche, pp105-115, "Evaluation of serious games"

Case study: Lumosity and brain games

Presenter: James, Jeffrey

Business Models for Health Games: Who Will Pay?

Schouten text, pp75-84, "Servitization and Commoditization: The business model dilemma confronting serious games for health"
Presenters: Rahul, Harshdeep

A Final Word: The Future of Health Games?

Presenters: Mina, Natalie

Session 11: Drop-in working session

Friday July 18 9:30-11:20 DC2568

Session 12: Student Project Presentations

Friday July 25 9:00-12:00 DC2568 ***NOTE EXTENDED TIME***