Title

“Critic-proofing” of the cognitive aspects of simple games

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2014

Publication Title

Computers & Education

Volume

72

Issue

Supplement C

First Page

132

Last Page

144

DOI

10.1016/j.compedu.2013.10.017

Abstract

This paper posits the use of computer games as cognitive development tools that can provide players with transferable skills suitable for learning in the 21st century. We describe a method for categorizing single-player computer games according to the main cognitive function(s) engaged in by the player during gaming. Categorization was done in collaboration with a neuropsychologist, academic researchers, and research assistants. Twelve research assistants, mostly domain novices, were trained to categorize games according to a cognitive matrix developed by the neuropsychologist. They also categorized the games, and evaluated and commented on the relevance of the neuropsychologist's categorization of the games. Through the process of “critic proofing,” computer games were reliably classified into primary and secondary cognitive categories, and the team was able to identify problems with both the categorization of certain games and the definitions of some of the cognitive functions in our cognitive matrix. Such an approach allowed for the identification of under-populated cognitive categories in the project's existing repository of games, and for further development of the cognitive representation framework, information useful for both researchers and designers in the gaming industry.