Exploring serious games for stroke rehabilitation: a scoping review

Omar Mubin, Fady Alnajjar, Abdullah Al Mahmud, Nalini Jishtu, Belal Alsinglawi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and Objectives: Stroke is the main cause of long-term disability and happens mostly in the older population. Stroke affected patients experience either of the cognitive, visual or motor losses and recovery requires time and patience as they have to do physical exercises every day and at times repetitively. There are various types of stroke rehabilitation exercises focussing on technological solutions that include therapies performed using games. Motion-based games are popular in encouraging participants to perform repetitive tasks without being getting bored. Therefore, in this study, we have explored studies that included the use of games for stroke rehabilitation to understand the design principles and characteristics of the games used for these purposes. Method: A number of medical respositories were searched for relevant articles in a window of 2008-2018. 18 studies were chosen for the scoping review depending on the inclusion criteria, and design principles used in these studies are analysed and evaluated. Results and Conclusion: We present main findings from our review concerning the attributes of existing games for stroke rehabilitation such as meaningful play, handling of failures, emphasising challenge, and the value of feedback. We conclude with a list of design recommendations that future serious game developers can consider while designing interfaces for stroke patients.Implications for Rehabilitation This review exhibits that the usage of gaming technologies is a very effective interactive mechanism for stroke based rehabilitation. Further our review also shows that serious games provide an avenue and opportunity for customized and highly contextualized gameplay Our review also suggests that effective features to incorporate into serious games for rehabilitation includes; facilitating challenge and recovery from errors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Stroke
  • design guidelines
  • game design
  • gamification
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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