Persuasive Gaming Conference

The Persuasive Gaming Conference (PGC) is the closing event of the “Persuasive Gaming in Context” research project, a collaboration between Utrecht University, the Technological University Eindhoven and the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. The PGC will take place in Amsterdam on 15 October 2017, connected to CHI PLAY 2017.
This conference is concerned with the characteristics, design principles, and effectiveness of persuasive gaming. Thus far, combining the contributions of different theoretical traditions have been rather uncommon in Persuasive Game Studies. In this conference, we will critically integrate what has been accomplished in separate research traditions. In it, contributions from different disciplines help to reflect on how gaming practices combine the dissemination of information with attempts to engage players in particular behaviors and attitudes.


VenueMarineterrein, Kattenburgerstraat 5, Pand 024, Amsterdam

09:00-09:30 Registration

09:30-10:00 Opening
Prof. dr. Joost Raessens (Utrecht University)
Prof. dr. Joost Raessens is project leader of the research project Persuasive Gaming. From Theory-Based Design to Validation and Back (NWO). Raessens holds the chair of Media Theory at Utrecht University. His research concerns the ‘ludification of culture,’ focusing in particular on persuasive, serious, or applied gaming (in relation to global issues such as climate change, refugees), on the playful construction of identities, and on the notion of play as a conceptual framework for the analysis of media use.



A critical assessment of previous theory and research on persuasive gaming and new theoretical approaches.

Dr. Teresa de la Hera
(Utrecht University / Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Dr. Teresa de la Hera was a postdoctoral researcher of the research project Persuasive Gaming.From Theory-Based Design to Validation and Back (NWO) at Utrech University. At this moment she works as a university lecturer at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her expertise is particularly related to understanding how digital games and new media technologies can be used as media for communication and tools for engagement, motivation, and persuasion.

Have Persuasive Games Failed?
Dr. Ian Bogost (Georgia Tech)
Dr. Ian Bogost is an author and an award-winning game designer. He is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also holds an appointment in the Scheller College of Business. Bogost is also Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC, an independent game studio, and a Contributing Editor at The Atlantic.

Playing an Automated World
Dr. Miguel Sicart (IT University of Copenhagen)
The fear of automation and its impact on labor and society have become a current topic of discussion both in popular media and in academic environements. In this talk, I want to address the intersection of gamification/playful design and automation. I claim that the drive to make our interactions with technology more playfully pleasurable can be used to facilitate our experience of an automated world. This poses relevant ethical and political challenges for play research and design, which I will address in this talk.

Mechanics, Messages, Meta-Media: How Persuasive Games Persuade, and What They Persuade Us of
Dr. Sebastian Deterding (University of York)
Sebastian Deterding is a designer and researcher working on design for human flourishing. He is a senior research fellow at the Digital Creativity Labs at the University of York. Founder and principal designer of the design agency coding conduct, he has created engaging experiences touching millions of users for clients including the BBC, BMW, Deutsche Telekom, KLM, and numerous startups. He is founder of the Gamification Research Network, and co-editor of “The Gameful World” (MIT Press, 2015). He lives online at

Designing and Evaluating “Stealth” Game Interventions for Attitude and Behavior Change: The Embedded Design Model
Dr. Geoff Kaufman (Carnegie Mellon University)
Geoff Kaufman is the founder of the eHeart Lab and an Assistant Professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University. His primary research focuses on how experience-taking – the mental simulation of characters’ experiences in fictional narratives, virtual worlds, or games – can change individuals’ self-concepts, attitudes, behaviors, and emotions. This work has led to new insights regarding user-specific, design-specific, and situational variables that increase the impact of stories, games, and mediated interactions, and a set of empirically validated techniques and best practices for the creation of playful interventions for various focal outcomes, such as building empathy, reducing unconscious bias, and promoting prosocial behaviors.

Follow-up Discussion


12:00-13:00 Lunch


Design covers both the research on design principles, strategies and processes that support in the design of persuasive games as well as insights gained through the creation of persuasive games.

Prof. dr. Ben Schouten
Prof. dr. Ben Schouten is member of the research project Persuasive Gaming.From Theory-Based Design to Validation and Back (NWO) at the Eindhoven University of Technology.In 2008 he was appointed lector Serious Game Design at Fontys Hogescholen and in 2010 Full Professor Design of Playful Interactions (TU/e). His group focuses on Games & Play for social innovations, industry and culture.

Martijn Kors (Eindhoven University of Technology)
Martijn Kors is a PhD candidate as part of the research project Persuasive Gaming.From Theory-Based Design to Validation and Back (NWO) at the Industrial Design Department of the Eindhoven University of Technology and researcher within the Create-IT Games & Play research group at the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam. His work is supervised by prof.dr. Ben Schouten BA, Tilde Bekker and dr. Erik van der Spek.

Ethical Human Centered Design
Dr. Mary Flanagan (Dartmouth College)
Mary Flanagan is an inventor, artist, writer and designer whose quirky games, engaging installations, wild poetry and critical essays forge a unique vision of technology, pop culture and avant-garde art. With five scholarly books, over fifty essays and chapters, and a collection of poetry to her credit, Flanagan also publishes in Salon, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Gamasutra. Her internationally recognized artwork ranges from game-inspired systems to computer viruses, embodied interfaces to interactive texts exhibit at museums around the world such as The Whitney Museum, The Guggenheim, Tate Britain, and museums in Spain, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia.

Affect and Effect – Persuasive Play and Meaningful Games
Dr. Lindsay Grace (American University)
Lindsay is an associate professor at American University, founding director of the American University Game Lab and Studio and the Knight Chair at the University of Miami. His game designs have received awards from the Games for Change Festival, Meaningful Play, Advances in Computer Entertainment and others. He has published more than 50 papers, articles and book chapters on games since 2009. His creative work has been selected for showcase in more than eight countries and 12 states, including New York, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Singapore, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Chicago and Vancouver. He has given talks at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC), SXSW, Games for Change Festival/Tribeca Film Festival, the Boston Festival of Independent Games and many others. Current academic liason and former vice president (2015-2016) for the Global Game Jam™, Lindsay also served on the board for the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) between 2013-2015.

Embodying Experiences in Immersive Virtual Environments for Attitude and Behavior Change
Dr. Sun Joo Ahn (University of Georgia)
Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn is founding director of the Games and Virtual Environments Lab in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. Her research examines how social media, video/internet games, and immersive virtual environments influence user attitudes and behaviors. She is exploring how digital technology can be used to encourage better food choices, more physical activity and better STEM learning in children.

Talking about Sexual Abuse through Play
Dr. Menno Deen (Lapp)
Dr. Menno van Pelt-Deen is a Design[er] Researcher, he explores game design in new and weird contexts. He creates games in swimming pools, therapeutic sessions and forests. By creating games with professionals, students and non-game developers, Menno builds bridges between industries, disciplines and people. As a result, he fosters the inclusion of new perspectives and domains into the creative industry of game development. Menno works as incubation manager at Dutch Game Garden. He helps start-ups to enter the game industry or to search for new markets for their interactive experiences.

Follow-up Discussion


15:00-15:30 Coffee


Research on effects of persuasive games and case-based evaluations of persuasive games and their impact.

Prof. dr. Jeroen Jansz
Prof. dr. Jeroen Jansz is member of the research project Persuasive Gaming.From Theory-Based Design to Validation and Back (NWO) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Jansz is the Chair of Communication and Media in the Department of Media & Communication. His research takes the ubiquity of the Internet as a starting point and aims to understand and explain the changing relations between media consumers and media producers in contemporary participatory culture.

Ruud Jacobs (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Ruud Jacobs (1987) is a PhD student at Erasmus University Rotterdam as part of the research project Persuasive Gaming.From Theory-Based Design to Validation and Back (NWO). Ruud holds a Master’s degree in Psychology (2012, cum laude) from the University of Twente. His Master track was focused on human factors and cognition and especially on the psychology of media.

Designing for Transfer
Dr. Mette Wichmand (Roskilde University)
Mette Wichmand is Assistant Professor at Roskilde University, Denmark at the Department of Communication and Arts. Mette’s research is concerned with how to build and sustain communities online with the purpose of generating civic engagement and social change. She is currently researching how social network games can empower players to become post-game social innovators. She holds PhD in Communication but has also spent many years outside academia researching and producing internationally broadcasted documentaries and children’s programs on human rights.

Exploring the Effectiveness of the Video Game, Against All Odds, in Reducing Prejudice towards Refugees
Dr. Chad Wertley (Robert Morris University)
Chad Wertley is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Robert Morris University, 6001 University Blvd, Moon Township, PA 15108 (email: His research focuses on social identity, and more specifically how social identity influences communication within mediated contexts. Notable research projects have explored the potential of video games as sites for positive intergroup contact, and understanding the use of communicative aggression to signal membership and status within a community.

Teaching Bias Reduction and Decision Making with Digital Games
Dr. Yu Hao Lee (University of Florida)
Yu-Hao Lee (Ph.D., Michigan State University). His research focuses on 1) information processing in interactive media and 2) online collaborations such as social media campaigns and activism. He has been involved in several design-based research projects that examines the effect of communication technology in various contexts. Including a serious game to teach intelligence analysts about cognitive biases, a game to improve high-school students’ information literacy skills, and a community-based game to raise awareness about water use. His research has been awarded division top paper by the International Communication Association (ICA), and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). He has received external grants support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), AEJMC, and Online News Association (ONA).

Follow-up Discussion