To compare the perception of animated to static mode of gameplay and how it affects the emotional state and performance of playing, this study designed two games, Chinese idiom string up game (CISUG) and Chinese idiom fishing game (CIFG). Seven classes with a total of 238 students were invited to participate in CIFG, and six classes with a total of 211 students were recruited for CISUG. All participants were 5th and 6th grade elementary school students. Performance achievement, interest level and gameplay anxiety were statistically examined using paired sample t-tests. The results revealed that the static mode fostered better performance. In addition, interest was found to be better maintained in the static mode than in the animated mode, but there was no difference between the two types of game modes in respect of gameplay anxiety. However, for both modes, gameplay anxiety did decrease slightly upon subsequent playing, though it did not reach a level of statistical significance. The results suggest that in educational game design, the use of static rather than animated modes should be considered when the objective is to help students achieve better performance in a competitive setting.
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