MARBOWL: Increasing the fun experience of shooting marbles

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Journal Article
Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 2012, 16 (4), pp. 391 - 404
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This paper focuses on the old school game of shooting marbles. We investigate which aspects of this tangible game make it popular and show how experienced fun can increase by elaborating such aspects through an iterative design process. A questionnaire and field study, tailored to the user group of primary school children aged 9-12 years old, revealed that aspects within areas of physical control, surface of the playground, opponent, and stakes of the game had the biggest influence on the fun experience of shooting marbles. A gameflow model and fun toolkit were used to improve the game in these respective areas. This resulted in a moving marble hole entitled Marbowl: a tangible marble game that augments existing game aspects such as timing, distance, surface, and other physical and environmental influences. A working prototype was field tested with 24 children at a primary school. Results show that different gameflow areas like concentration needed, playability, difficulty to win the game, and amount of challenge, increased in a positive way. Together these findings concluded that compared with the original marble game, children experienced a higher level of fun while playing with Marbowl. © The Author(s) 2011.
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