Exploring Audio Storytelling in Mobile Exergames to Affect the Perception of Physical Exercise (BEST PAPER AWARD)
Authors:Chittaro L., Zuliani F.
Published in:Proceedings of Pervasive Health 2013: 7th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, May 2013, pp. 1-8.
Abstract:Exergames (video games that combine exercise and play) can make the experience of physical activities more enjoyable. Mobile exergames are particularly interesting as they can be used for outdoors, open-air physical activities. Unfortunately, current mobile exergames tend to require the player to frequently or continuously look at the screen. This can be hard to do while exercising, and it also requires the player to considerably distract visual attention from the surrounding physical environment, introducing safety issues in activities such as outdoor running. In this paper, we focus on two main goals. First, we explore how to use audio storytelling techniques to make physical exercise more engaging and enjoyable by exploiting a soundscape that provides prompt feedback in response to players’ activity and does not require the player to look at the screen during running. Second, we study if the exergame is fun for users and if it positively affects the perception of the running experience. We measure important variables such as level of physical activity in player’s lifestyle and player’s physical activity enjoyment through validated methods employed in the medical literature. The results of the study show that the use of audio storytelling techniques in mobile exergames is appreciated by users, and the exergame has positive effects on the perception of physical exercise.