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Cyberpsychol Behav. 2009 Oct;12(5):493-9. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0013.

Brain training for silver gamers: effects of age and game form on effectiveness, efficiency, self-assessment, and gameplay experience.

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  • 1Game Systems and Interaction Research Laboratory, School of Computing, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden. Lennart.Nacke@acm.org


In recent years, an aging demographic majority in the Western world has come to the attention of the game industry. The recently released "brain-training" games target this population, and research investigating gameplay experience of the elderly using this game form is lacking. This study employs a 2 x 2 mixed factorial design (age group: young and old x game form: paper and Nintendo DS) to investigate effects of age and game form on usability, self-assessment, and gameplay experience in a supervised field study. Effectiveness was evaluated in task completion time, efficiency as error rate, together with self-assessment measures (arousal, pleasure, dominance) and game experience (challenge, flow, competence, tension, positive and negative affect). Results indicate players, regardless of age, are more effective and efficient using pen-and-paper than using a Nintendo DS console. However, the game is more arousing and induces a heightened sense of flow in digital form for gamers of all ages. Logic problem-solving challenges within digital games may be associated with positive feelings for the elderly but with negative feelings for the young. Thus, digital logic-training games may provide positive gameplay experience for an aging Western civilization.

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