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How does dark play impact the effectiveness of serious video games?

April 15, 2019 / Mary Ann Liebert

A new study has shown that allowing "dark play" in a serious video game intended to practice skills transferable to a real-life setting does not impact the game's effectiveness. Dark play, in which players choose inappropriate or unethical actions, is an option in nearly all video games. The study, which evaluated the ability and attitudes of medical students in caring for delirious patients, is published in Games for Health Journal. In this study, the researchers analyzed the effects of dark play in a serious game called "The Delirium Experience" on medical students' ability to advise care, their learning motivation and engagement, and their attitudes towards delirious patients. They found no significant differences between normal play and dark play on the game's effectiveness. "Dark play is not ordinarily investigated in Games for Health Journal, yet it may provide a mechanism for enhancing effectiveness. Buijs-Spanjers and her team tested dark pl...