Constructs and Outcomes of Fun in Digital Serious Games: The State of the Art




Serious Games, Game Design, Fun, Systematic Literature Mapping


Game design depends not only on understanding the creation process but also the elements that lead the game to be played. Fun, one of these elements, is of important value for the players’ enjoyment as well as their experience with the game, particularly with Serious Games (SG) due to its use as an instrument to serious matters. But there is no consensus on what it is and how to create something fun in SG. This paper performs a systematic literature mapping, to answer which are the constructs and outcomes related to fun. Out of 1062 papers, 62 were selected, 19 of which proved a direct impact of some factors on fun. It was found that the research on fun is increasing but slowly, 13 constructs have been proved to yield fun and 17 outcomes were investigated as a result from fun. Along with this, a Fun Framework was created based on related work. However, it was not possible to perceive a trend as to the rationale or form of evaluation focused on fun. Also, it was found that there is no consensual author regarding the definition of fun. The need for more research and discussion about fun, its causes and consequences became clear, despite the lack of a sound definition.


Download data is not yet available.


Adams, E. (2010) Fundementals of Game Design. 2nd ed, Pearson Prentice Hall. 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: New Riders. Available at: [link].

Adams, E. (2013) Fundamentals of Game Design Third Edition, New Riders.

Albuquerque, R. M. de and Fialho, F. A. P. (2010) “Diversão nos jogos eletrônicos : reflexões epistemológicas para o Game Design,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 25–33. (In Portuguese)

Alves, A. G. and Borges, T. L. (2015) “Criança co-criadora de jogos digitais: um estudo de caso com aplicação da abordagem do Design Participativo,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 396–403. (In Portuguese)

Alves, A. G. and Santos, R. A. (2013) “Adequação de jogabilidade para crianças Um estudo de caso com o jogo Rabbit in Danger,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 285–293. (In Portuguese)

Barbosa, S. D. J. et al. (2021) Interação Humano-Computador e Experiência do Usuário. 1st ed. Edited by S. D. Junqueira and Barbosa. Rio de Janeiro: Autopublicação. (In Portuguese)

Blythe, M. A. et al. (2004) Funology From Usability to Enjoyment. 3rd ed, Human-Computer Interaction. 3rd ed. Edited by Springer. New York, Boston, Dordrecht, London, Moscow: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Bonnet, L., Lotte, F. and Lécuyer, A. (2013) “Two brains, one game: Design and evaluation of a multiuser bci video game based on motor imagery,” Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, 5(2), pp. 185–198. doi: 10.1109/TCIAIG.2012.2237173.

Borges, J. B. et al. (2020) “Player Experience Evaluation: Which instrument should I use?,” Journal on Interactive Systems, 11(1), pp. 74–91. doi: 10.5753/jis.2020.765.

Bragg, D. et al. (2021) “ASL Sea Battle: Gamifying Sign Language Data Collection,” in CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, pp. 1–13. doi: 10.1145/3411764.3445416.

Brito, L. F. De et al. (2019) “Desenvolvimento e Avaliação do Nutrikids: Um Jogo Educacional Sobre Conhecimento Nutricional e Prevenção da Obesidade,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 918–926. (In Portuguese)

Buchinger, D., Cavalcanti, G. A. de S. and Hounsell, M. da S. (2014) “Mecanismos de busca acadêmica: uma análise quantitativa,” in Revista Brasileira de Computação Aplicada. doi: 10.5335/rbca.2014.3452.

Cardozo, L. T. et al. (2020) “Quebra-Cabeça do Ciclo Cardíaco – Desenvolvimento de uma versão digital online para o ensino de fisiologia cardíaca,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, 1, pp. 997–1004. (In Portuguese)

Cardozo, L. T. et al. (2021) “Cardiac Cycle Puzzle: Development and Analysis of Students’ Perception of an Online Digital Version for Teaching Cardiac Physiology,” Journal on Interactive Systems, 12(1), pp. 21–34. doi: 10.5753/jis.2021.1879.

Carneiro, N. et al. (2018) “Net.Aura: Design e Aplicação de um Jogo de Realidade Aumentada no Ensino de Redes de Computadores,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 1173–1182. (In Portuguese)

Carvalho, R. N. S. De and Ishitani, L. (2012) “Motivational Factors for Mobile Serious Games for Elderly Users,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 19–28.

Clemes, A. V. et al. (2018) “Avaliação de um jogo educativo sobre hábitos alimentares saudáveis e higiene bucal,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, p. 9. (In Portuguese)

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1991) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. 1st ed, Academy of Management Review. 1st ed. New York: Harper Collins. doi: 10.2307/258925.

Cuperschmid, A. R. M. and Hildebrand, H. R. (2013) “Avaliação heurística de jogabilidade Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 371–378.

Dörner, R. et al. (2016) Serious Games, Games Foundations, Concepts and Practice. Edited by R. Dörner et al. Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-40612-1.

Doucet, L. and Srinivasany, V. (2010) “Designing entertaining educational games using procedural rhetoric: A case study,” Sandbox: 5th ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Video Games, 1(212), pp. 5–10. doi: 10.1145/1836135.1836136.

Editora Melhoramentos (2021) “Diversão | Michaelis On-line,” Editora Melhoramentos. Available at: [link]. (In Portuguese)

Franzwa, C., Tang, Y. and Johnson, A. (2013) “Serious game design: Motivating students through a balance of fun and learning,” International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications, VS-GAMES. doi: 10.1109/VS-GAMES.2013.6624239.

Freitas, D. Q. et al. (2012) “Development and Evaluation of a Kinect Based Motor Rehabilitation Game,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, 2012, pp. 144–153.

Froschauer, J. et al. (2010) “Design and evaluation of a serious game for immersive cultural training,” 16th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia, VSMM 2010, pp. 253–260. doi: 10.1109/VSMM.2010.5665978.

Garry, M. H. et al. (2019) “Design and Implementation Serious Game ‘Tic Tac Toe Math,’” International Conference on Computer Engineering, Network, and Intelligent Multimedia, CENIM, 2019-Novem. doi: 10.1109/CENIM48368.2019.8973336.

Huizinga, J. (2000) Homo Ludens. 4th ed. São Paulo: Editora Perspectiva S.A.

Hunicke, R., Leblanc, M. and Zubek, R. (2004) “MDA: A formal approach to game design and game research,” AAAI Workshop - Technical Report, WS-04-04(August), pp. 1–5.

Iacovides, I. and Cox, A. L. (2015) “Moving beyond fun: Evaluating serious experience in digital game,” Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2015-April, pp. 2245–2254. doi: 10.1145/2702123.2702204.

Ihsan, Z., Herumurti, D. and Yunanto, A. A. (2020) “Combination of learning and fun aspect for educational game using gameplay-grafting method,” International Seminar on Application for Technology of Information and Communication: IT Challenges for Sustainability, Scalability, and Security in the Age of Digital Disruption, iSemantic, pp. 1–6. doi: 10.1109/iSemantic50169.2020.9234246.

Ijsselsteijn, W. A., Kort, Y. A. W. D. and Poels, K. (2013) “The Game Experience Questionnaire. Eindhoven,” Johnson, M.J., VanderLoos, H.F.M., Burgar, C.G., Shor, P., Leifer, L.J., 2005(2013), pp. 1–47. Available at: [link].

Jesus, A. M. De and Silveira, I. F. (2019) “A collaborative game-based learning framework to improve computational thinking skills,” International Conference on Virtual Reality and Visualization, ICVRV, pp. 161–166. doi: 10.1109/ICVRV47840.2019.00038.

Jhones, E. et al. (2021) “Procedural Generation of Isometric Racetracks Using Chain Code for Racing Games,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital.

Joselli, M. et al. (2014) “Mindninja: Concept, Development and Evaluation of a Mind Action Game Based on EEGs,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, 2014-Decem(December), pp. 123–132. doi: 10.1109/SBGAMES.2014.14.

Jovanovic, M. et al. (2011) “Motivation and multimodal interaction in model-driven educational game design,” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Part A:Systems and Humans, 41(4), pp. 817–824. doi: 10.1109/TSMCA.2011.2132711.

Karácsony, T. et al. (2019) “Brain computer interface for neuro-rehabilitation with deep learning classification and virtual reality feedback,” ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. doi: 10.1145/3311823.3311864.

Ketcheson, M., Ye, Z. and Graham, T. C. N. (2015) “Designing for exertion: How heart-rate power-ups increase physical activity in exergames,” Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, pp. 79–90. doi: 10.1145/2793107.2793122.

Kitchenham, B. and Charters, S. (2007) “Guidelines for performing Systematic Literature Reviews in Software Engineering.”

Kolthoff, T., Spil, T. A. M. and Nguyen, H. (2019) “The adoption of a serious game to foster interaction between the elderly and the youth,” IEEE 7th International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health, SeGAH. doi: 10.1109/SeGAH.2019.8882443.

Koster, R. (2013) Theory of Fun for Game Design. Sebastopol,: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Krause, K. K. G. et al. (2017) “Jogo Sério para Auxílio no Desenvolvimento do Conceito Multiplicativo,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 236–237. (In Portuguese)

Van de Laar, B., Gürkök, H., et al. (2013) “Experiencing BCI control in a popular computer game,” Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, 5(2), pp. 176–184. doi: 10.1109/TCIAIG.2013.2253778.

Van de Laar, B., Bos, D. P. O., et al. (2013) “How much control is enough? Influence of unreliable input on user experience,” Transactions on Cybernetics, 43(6), pp. 1584–1592. doi: 10.1109/TCYB.2013.2282279.

Lam, A. T. et al. (2020) “Pac-Euglena: A Living Cellular Pac-Man Meets Virtual Ghosts,” Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1–13. doi: 10.1145/3313831.3376378.

Lazzaro, N. (2004) “Why We Play Games: Four Keys to More Emotion Without Story,” Game Dev Conf, p. 8.

Leite, P. da S. and Almeida, L. D. A. (2017) “Modelo Artefato-Experiência para Elementos dos Jogos e Gameplay,” pp. 125–134. (In Portuguese)

Lindberg, R., Seo, J. and Laine, T. H. (2016) “Enhancing Physical Education with Exergames and Wearable Technology,” IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 9(4), pp. 328–341. doi: 10.1109/TLT.2016.2556671.

Lorenzi, F., Ribeiro, V. V. and Kurtz, G. B. (2018) “RPG Educacional para o ensino de Design Thinking,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 1239–1248.

Machado, R. da S. (2014) “Fator diversão na produção de um jogo eletrônico educativo,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 550–559. (In Portuguese)

Majid, M. S. H. et al. (2018) “Performance evaluation of a VR-based arm rehabilitation using movement sequence pattern,” 14th International Colloquium on Signal Processing and its Application, CSPA 2018, (March), pp. 123–128. doi: 10.1109/CSPA.2018.8368698.

Mandryk, R. L. and Atkins, M. S. (2007) “A fuzzy physiological approach for continuously modeling emotion during interaction with play technologies,” International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 65(4), pp. 329–347. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2006.11.011.

Maqsood, S., Mekhail, C. and Chiasson, S. (2018) “A day in the life of Jos: A web-based game to increase children’s digital literacy,” ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 241–252. doi: 10.1145/3202185.3202753.

Marques, B. R. C., Levitt, S. P. and Nixon, K. J. (2012) “Software visualisation through video games,” in Proceedings of the South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists Conference on - SAICSIT ’12. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press, p. 206. doi: 10.1145/2389836.2389861.

Marsh, T. et al. (2011) “Fun and learning: The power of narrative,” 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG, pp. 23–29. doi: 10.1145/2159365.2159369.

Marsh, T. (2011) “Serious games continuum: Between games for purpose and experiential environments for purpose,” Entertainment Computing, 2(2), pp. 61–68. doi:

McCall, R., O’Neil, S. and Carroll, F. (2004) “Measuring presence in virtual environments,” in Conference on Human factors and computing systems - CHI ’04. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press, p. 783. doi: 10.1145/985921.985934.

Medeiros, R. J. V. De and Medeiros, T. F. V. De (2014) “Procedural Level Balancing in Runner Games,” in 2014 Brazilian Symposium on Computer Games and Digital Entertainment. IEEE, pp. 109–114. doi: 10.1109/SBGAMES.2014.30.

Menezes, J. and Schlemmer, E. (2014) “Desenvolvendo a competência comunicativa através de Social Games nas aulas de Língua Inglesa,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 543–549. (In Portuguese)

Michael, D. R. and Chen, S. L. (2005) Serious games: Games that educate, train, and inform. Bostom, MA: Cengage Learning.

Moosa, A. M. et al. (2020) “Designing a Mobile Serious Game for Raising Awareness of Diabetic Children,” IEEE Access, 8, pp. 222876–222889. doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3043840.

Moser, C., Fuchsberger, V. and Tscheligi, M. (2012) “Rapid assessment of game experiences in public settings,” ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, pp. 73–82. doi: 10.1145/2367616.2367625.

Nascimento, L. (2020) “Projeto Treinamento: Desenvolvendo Duelos de Memória em uma Proposta de Card Game Engajado para o Treinamento da Capacidade de Concentração,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 987–996. (In Portuguese)

Normal, M. J., MdNor, K. and Ishak, B. I. (2014) “Fun beliefs in digital games from the perspective of human nature: A systematic review,” in International Symposium on Technology Management and Emerging Technologies. IEEE, pp. 359–364. doi: 10.1109/ISTMET.2014.6936534.

Oliveira, M. J. et al. (2019) “Do Not Puzzle the Puzzle Player: When Communicability Issues Influence Playability,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, 2018-Novem, pp. 81–87. doi: 10.1109/SBGAMES.2018.00019.

Ooi, Y. P. et al. (2016) “Understanding player perceptions of RegnaTales, a mobile game for teaching social problem solving skills,” ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, 04-08-Apri, pp. 167–172. doi: 10.1145/2851613.2851678.

Ouherrou, N. et al. (2012) “A Heuristic Evaluation of an Educational Game for Children with Dyslexia,” Monatsschrift Kinderheilkunde, (September), pp. 1229–1235.

Pereira, L. T., Viana, B. M. F. and Toledo, C. F. M. (2021) “Procedural Enemy Generation through Parallel Evolutionary Algorithm,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital.

Petersen, K., Vakkalanka, S. and Kuzniarz, L. (2015) “Guidelines for conducting systematic mapping studies in software engineering: An update,” Information and Software Technology, 64, pp. 1–18. doi: 10.1016/j.infsof.2015.03.007.

Petri, G. and von Wangenheim, C. G. (2016) “How to evaluate educational games: A systematic literature review,” Journal of Universal Computer Science, 22(7), pp. 992–1021.

Petri, G., von Wangenheim, C. G. and Borgatto, A. F. (2017) “Quality of Games for Teaching Software Engineering: An Analysis of Empirical Evidences of Digital and Non-Digital Games,” in International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering Education and Training Track (ICSE-SEET). IEEE, pp. 150–159. doi: 10.1109/ICSE-SEET.2017.18.

Petri, G., Wangenheim, C. G. Von and Borgatto, A. F. (2019) “MEEGA+: Um Modelo para a Avaliação de Jogos Educacionais para o ensino de Computação,” Revista Brasileira de Informática na Educação, 27(03), pp. 52–81. (In Portuguese)

Petry, S. (2010) “Pode a filosofia auxiliar na compreensão do que é Game ?,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 175–186. (In Portuguese)

Prensky, M. (2001) “Fun , Play and Games : What Makes Games Engaging,” in Digital Game-Based Learning, pp. 1–31. Available at: [link].

Rachevsky, D. C., de Souza, V. C. and Nedel, L. (2018) “Visualization and interaction in immersive virtual reality games: A user evaluation study,” 20th Symposium on Virtual and Augmented Reality, SVR, (2014), pp. 89–98. doi: 10.1109/SVR.2018.00024.

Read, J. C. and MacFarlane, S. (2006) “Using the fun toolkit and other survey methods to gather opinions in Child Computer Interaction,” Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC ’06, 2006, pp. 81–88. doi: 10.1145/1139073.1139096.

Rodrigues, L., Bonidia, R. and Brancher, J. (2020) “Procedural versus human level generation: Two sides of the same coin?,” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 141, p. 102465. doi:

Satria, F. et al. (2017) “EFL learning media for early childhood through speech recognition application,” International Conference on Science in Information Technology: Theory and Application of IT for Education, Industry and Society in Big Data Era, ICSITech, 2018-Janua, pp. 568–572. doi: 10.1109/ICSITech.2017.8257177.

Schell, J. (2010) A arte de Game Design. 1st ed. Elsevier Editora LTDA.

Schroeder, R. B. and Hounsell, M. da S. (2016) “SEU-Q -Um Instrumento de Avaliação de Utilidade de Jogos Sérios Ativos,” in I Simpósio Latino-Americano de Jogos, pp. 136–145. (In Portuguese)

Shen, C., Wang, H. and Ritterfeld, U. (2009) “Serious games and seriously fun games: Can they be one and the same?,” Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects, (September), pp. 48–61. doi: 10.4324/9780203891650.

Silva Bastos, A. et al. (2018) “Synesthesia: A Study on Immersive Features of Electronic Games,” Journal on Interactive Systems, 9(2), p. 1. doi: 10.5753/jis.2018.700.

Silva, E. et al. (2018) “An interaction mechanism for virtual reality based on upper limbs motions tracking using depth cameras and inertial sensors,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, 2017-Novem, pp. 46–55. doi: 10.1109/SBGames.2017.00014.

Sobrinho, M. E. et al. (2016) “Game Serra Pelada: Projeto Implementação e Avaliação de um Jogo Educativo para o ensino de Geometria para Alunos do 9 do Ensino Fundamental,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 865–872. (In Portuguese)

Souza, V. et al. (2019) “Development and Evaluation of a Immersive Serious Game to Support Neuroanatomy Teaching and Learning,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pp. 927–935.

Su, J. M. and Wu, K. M. (2014) “League of learners (LoL) - A collaborative subject-free learning game scheme to leverage fun and meaningful learning: A study on potential and effect,” International Conference of Educational Innovation Through Technology, pp. 68–74. doi: 10.1109/EITT.2014.19.

Sweetser, P. and Wyeth, P. (2005) “GameFlow: a model for evaluating player enjoyment in games,” Computers in Entertainment, 3(3), p. 3. doi: 10.1145/1077246.1077253.

Tondorf, D. F. and Hounsell, M. da S. (2021) “De volta ao parquinho : A busca da diversão no jogo digital,” in GranDGamesBR: Fórum dos Grandes Desafios de Pesquisa em Jogos e Entretenimento Digital no Brasil. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, pp. 927–930. (In Portuguese)

Torok, L. et al. (2014) “AdaptControl: An adaptive mobile touch control for games,” SIGGRAPH Asia Mobile Graphics and Interactive Applications, SA, pp. 137–145. doi: 10.1145/2669062.2669081.

Umbelino, M. A. M. and Mota, R. R. da (2021) “Negativity in Play - How Negative Emotions create Meaningful Games,” in Anais Estendidos do XX Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital (SBGames Estendido 2021). Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, pp. 152–161. doi: 10.5753/sbgames_estendido.2021.19635.

Venter, M. and De Wet, L. (2016) “Continuance use intention of primary school learners towards mobile mathematical applications,” Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE, 2016-Novem. doi: 10.1109/FIE.2016.7757539.

Wang, H., Shen, C. and Ritterfeld, U. (2009) “Enjoyment of digital games: What makes them ‘seriously’ fun?,” Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects, pp. 25–47. doi: 10.4324/9780203891650.

Warriar, V. R., Woodward, J. R. and Tokarchuk, L. (2019) “Modelling player preferences in AR mobile games,” IEEE Conference on Computatonal Intelligence and Games, CIG, 2019-Augus. doi: 10.1109/CIG.2019.8848082.

Yanti, P. P., Rosmansyah, Y. and Dabarsyah, B. (2019) “Serious Games for Children: A Systematic Literature Review,” 1st International Conference on Informatics, Multimedia, Cyber and Information System, ICIMCIS, pp. 79–84. doi: 10.1109/ICIMCIS48181.2019.8985230.

Zamith, M. et al. (2020) “Applying hidden Markov model for dynamic game balancing,” Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, 2020-Novem, pp. 38–46. doi: 10.1109/SBGames51465.2020.00016.

Zyda, M. (2005) “From visual simulation to virtual reality to games,” Computer, 38(9), pp. 25–32. doi: 10.1109/MC.2005.297.




How to Cite

TONDORF, D. F.; HOUNSELL, M. da S. Constructs and Outcomes of Fun in Digital Serious Games: The State of the Art. Journal on Interactive Systems, Porto Alegre, RS, v. 13, n. 1, p. 386–399, 2022. DOI: 10.5753/jis.2022.2605. Disponível em: Acesso em: 6 feb. 2023.



Regular Paper