Note: In 2013, Health Games Research completed its work. This web site is now an archive and will not be updated. Please visit the web site of the Center for Digital Games Research www.cdgr.ucsb.edu at UC Santa Barbara to find current information about health games and the broader field of digital games, and to use the Health Games Research online searchable database.

Effectiveness of Social Mobile Networked Games in Promoting Active Lifestyles for Wellness

This project uses the web and cell phones to deliver Wellness Partners, a character-driven social networked mobile game, to youth and adults ages 12 to 85. The game and an accompanying health diary are designed to motivate physical activity through a player support system that involves family members and friends, and by incorporating elements from virtual pets, role-playing games and online social networking. A single-player version provides a fictional game character that offers encouragement, reminders, progress checking and communication with others. A multiplayer version allows players to enlist members of their social network to be partners or helpers. The study examines how various components of the game—such as game reward mechanisms, social interaction with other players, the fictional game character, and feedback from the game—may motivate healthy behaviors.

Principal Investigator
Marientina Gotsis, M.F.A.
Media Lab Manager
School of Cinematic Arts
Co-Investigator
Thomas W. Valente, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine
Other Researchers

Mona Desai
Maryalice Jordan-Marsh
Donna Spruijt-Metz