The Effects of Age on Player Behavior in Educational Games

Eleanor Mary O'Rourke, Eric Butler, Yun En Liu, Zoran Popović

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Casual games attract a diverse group of players with varied needs and interests. In order to effectively tailor games to specific audiences, designers must consider the effects of demographics on player behavior. This is particularly important when developing educational games for children, since research shows that they have different design needs than adults. In this work, we develop in-depth metrics to capture demographic differences in player behavior in two educational games, Refraction and Treefrog Treasure. To learn about the effects of age on behavior, we use these metrics to analyze two player populations, children on the educational website BrainPOP and adults of the popular Flash website Kongregate. We show that BrainPOP players make more
mathematical mistakes, display less strategic behavior, and are less likely to collect optional rewards than Kongregate players. Given these results, we present design suggestions for casual games that target children.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2013)
PublisherSociety for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-0991398201
StatePublished - 2013


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