Persuasive Gaming at the DiGRA Conference 2015

As the Digital Games Research Association’s conference of May 2015 descended on Lüneburg, Germany, several members of the Persuasive Gaming in Context team presented their work. The objective of this DiGRA conference was to showcase interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of games and play. The largest contribution made to the conference program by our team was a 2 hour panel session consisting of presentations from the different facets of our project. The panel’s presentations were:

Introduction to Persuasive Gaming in Context

Jeroen Jansz (ERMeCC, EUR)

On the Reception and Influences of Persuasive Games: Play to Win Over

Ruud Jacobs (ERMeCC, EUR)

A Set of Holistic Guidelines for Persuasive Game Design: A Reflection on Designing Games for Persuasion

Martijn Kors (Industrial Design, TU/e)

Framing the Frames: Toward a Critical Understanding of Persuasive Gaming

Joost Raessens (Media Studies, Utrecht University)

Concluding Thoughts

Ben Schouten (Industrual Design, TU/e)
During the presentations, listeners were guided through the project, starting at the validation aspect. Ruud talked about two studies that were performed, showing that people who seek out persuasive games might not always be the audience its developers intended and offering evidence of the power of a game about modern slave labor to change how its players felt about this issue. Martijn offered insight in how to design games specifically to persuade players, highlighting the necessary steps to increase a game’s persuasive power by, among others, involving stakeholders at an early stage and guiding players towards attitude change and action. Taking a step back from the games themselves, Joost discussed how persuasive gaming inherently frames messages while being developed from a broader frame, before concluding that these frames are informed by the cultures of both developers and academia.
Outside of the panel of presentations about persuasive gaming, Jeroen and Ruud also showcased their work The Persuasive Properties of Games for Change: A Case-Based Analysis. This presentation considered the messages of persuasive games to emerge through eleven persuasive dimensions that can be embedded during development, based on a theoretical model of Teresa de la Hera. By applying this model to 9 existing games, Jeroen and Ruud showed that these games often rely on in-game text to persuade, and that most games had messages embedded into the rules and systems that simulate real-world processes. Determining how persuasive games offer their messages can help to develop best practices and chart the effectiveness of the medium.

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