Abstract: When we discuss games, as a culture, the games under discussion are often presumed almost always a “core” (or “hardcore”) games. However, video games are change rapidly. The market has been shifting for years with increased revenue and game play occurring in casual and mobile gaming. Revenue streams have are now flowing from digital distribution; the App Store and Google Play have continued to generate substantial industry revenue, which continues to grow. During this, efforts to study a broader category of games often end up reifying a division between casual and hardcore games, the effect of which is to lump players and play styles into specific categories. The politics of this terminology is not nothing – the way games are discussed in mass media, specialized journalism and academic writing, all affect who gets to play and how that player is portrayed. This article serves as an introduction to a special issue for the journal Games & Culture that considers the impact and importance of the casual market.
Abstract: This chapter explores how video games interact with individual characteristics to afford unique opportunities for behavior change. It first considers how video games differ from traditional media, and more specifically how they create virtual situations that may be perceived differently from those naturally occurring in reality. In this regard, the concept of situational affordance is discussed. It then examines simulated experiences provided by video games before describing a range of psychosocial pathways (both cognitive and affective) through which video games can impact behavior change both intentionally and inadvertently (motivation, personalization, Proteus Effect). It also recommends game elements aimed at eliciting behavior change and highlights some concrete applications that illustrate how games or game elements can be used to induce and sustain changes in health attitudes and behaviors. Finally, it identifies several areas for future research that are emerging in the field of game studies.