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• We study the appropriation of the educational game Monkey Tales at children’s homes.
• Players use various tactics to make educational game fit their own needs.
• Player tactics can comply with, or resist the game’s implied behavior.
• The balance between game aspects and educational content is emergent, not fixed.
In research on educational games, the majority of studies have been executed in controlled school settings: the home as a context in which educational games are played, is still underexplored. However, the home context is becoming more important, as children are increasingly encouraged or even required to engage with learning content at home through educational games. In this article, we describe a study of Monkey Tales, an educational math game targeted at primary school children. Using a combination of a multimodal game analysis and a six-month user study with eight children aged 10–11 and their families, we provide a detailed account of how players interpret and appropriate Monkey Tales at home. We investigate to what extent players develop tactics to appropriate the game to suit their personal interests. The study showed that in the home context, respondents used various tactics to avoid educational content. We describe the implications of these appropriation tactics for the generalizability of effectivity research, and for the design of educational games.
Journal: Entertainment Computing - Volume 16, July 2016, Pages 1–14