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International Journal of Computer Games Technology
Volume 2010, Article ID 578784, 11 pages
Research Article

Visualizing Decision Trees in Games to Support Children's Analytic Reasoning: Any Negative Effects on Gameplay?

Cognitive Engineering Laboratory, Middlesex College, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 5B7

Received 22 October 2009; Revised 7 April 2010; Accepted 13 May 2010

Academic Editor: Ali Arya

Copyright © 2010 Robert Haworth et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The popularity and usage of digital games has increased in recent years, bringing further attention to their design. Some digital games require a significant use of higher order thought processes, such as problem solving and reflective and analytical thinking. Through the use of appropriate and interactive representations, these thought processes could be supported. A visualization of the game's internal structure is an example of this. However, it is unknown whether including these extra representations will have a negative effect on gameplay. To investigate this issue, a digital maze-like game was designed with its underlying structure represented as a decision tree. A qualitative, exploratory study with children was performed to examine whether the tree supported their thought processes and what effects, if any, the tree had on gameplay. This paper reports the findings of this research and discusses the implications for the design of games in general.