Game Design: Art and Science

Tobi Saulnier and Elizabeth Mclaren


This paper discusses the development processes, design choices, and outcomes of a project that experimentally tested the impact of a 2D casual, educational game (CYCLES) on training players to recognize and mitigate three cognitive biases: Confirmation Bias, Fundamental Attribution Error, and Bias Blind Spot. Different versions of the game were used to examine the impact of three game design variables on learning and engagement: avatar customization, visual style, and narrative style. The goal was to determine how these factors influenced outcome measures and, in addition, to determine whether a game had more impact on learning that an educational video on the same material. Following the discussion of the results of this testing, this paper then delves into the deeper questions related to applying the scientific process to optimize game design.