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This study aims at critically reviewing recently published papers on the use of games for serious purposes to help young people’s mental and moral development. The objective of this review is: (a) to present the empirical evidence of games for serious purposes as an effective vehicle to transfer moral value orientations and positive emotions; (b) to identify the explored area of the game impact and evaluate the effectiveness of a game impact from the previous studies; (c) to summarize different game assessments and study designs of the previous studies; (d) to define future research perspectives. After searching several influential databases, 26 relevant articles were included in the study. This review provided empirical evidences that games for serious purposes may improve young people’s prosocial behaviour, empathy, emotion regulation, mental health and moral belief. Furthermore, these games can change people’s attitude, affect people’s behaviour and even influence people’s psychological state. This review made a comprehensive summary of game assessment including in- and out off-game assessment and detailed analysis of study designs from the previous study. The current finding reveals that studies about prosocial games are of relatively good quality, and that there is great potential for the study of games regarding empathy and moral development. Besides, in accordance with Johnson and Hall’s Job Demand-Control-Support (JDCS) model, a new and innovative way of classifying games is proposed: purpose-driven, action-driven, mode-driven and game context-driven.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date



10622 LNCS


245 - 258