Publication: Tailoring Persuasive Health Games to Gamer Type

Persuasive games are an effective approach for motivating health behavior, and recent years have seen an increase in games designed for changing human behaviors or attitudes. However, these games are limited in two major ways: first, they are not based on theories of what motivates healthy behavior change. This makes it difficult to evaluate why a persuasive approach works. Second, most persuasive games treat players as a monolithic group. As an attempt to resolve these weaknesses, we conducted a large-scale survey of 642 gamers' eating habits and their associated determinants of healthy behavior to understand how health behavior relates to gamer type. We developed seven different models of healthy eating behavior for the gamer types identified by BrainHex. We then explored the differences between the models and created two approaches for effective persuasive game design based on our results. The first is a one-size-fits-all approach that will motivate the majority of the population, while not demotivating any players. The second is a personalized approach that will best motivate a particular type of gamer. Finally, to make our approaches actionable in persuasive game design, we map common game mechanics to the determinants of healthy behavior.





Rita Orji Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan
Julita Vassileva
University of Saskatchewan
Kathrin Gerling
University of Lincoln


Orji, R., Mandryk, R.L., Vassileva, J., Gerling, K.M. 2013. Tailoring Persuasive Health Games to Gamer Type. In CHI '13: Proceedings of the 31st international conference on Human factors in computing systems, Paris, France. 2467-2476. DOI=


@inproceedings {290-HBM_GamerType_Orji_CHI2013,
author= {Rita Orji and Regan Mandryk and Julita Vassileva and Kathrin Gerling},
title= {Tailoring Persuasive Health Games to Gamer Type},
booktitle= {CHI '13: Proceedings of the 31st international conference on Human factors in computing systems},
year= {2013},
address= {Paris, France},
pages= {2467-2476}