Using Games to Raise Awareness. How to Co-design Serious Mini-games?

Publication Date: Thursday 8 October 2015
Author(s): Van Geit, K.; Cauberghe, V.; Hudders, L. & De Veirman, M.
Appeared in: The 9th European Conference on Games Based Learning


This study explores how the usability of informant design as a framework to involve multiple stakeholders in serious game design. First, it evaluates serious mini-games as a tool for social marking campaigns, particularly those targeted at youngsters. The study suggests that serious mini-games can provide an efficient alternative to more complex serious games, as these are short games focusing on a single concept or learning goal. Similar to the more complex serious games, they have the ability to motivate and enhance the players’ interest in a particular topic, but only require only a small time investment from their players. Research suggests that the use of mini-games becomes even more promising if a set of different games is united in order to study a topic from different angles (Frazer, Argles and Wills, 2007). Furthermore, if each mini-game incorporates different gameplay mechanics, they will be able to appeal to a greater variety of players. Hence, serious mini-games appear to be the perfect tool to create awareness on different aspects of a social topic in a fast, interactive and engaging manner. However, the question arises how to develop such a platform of serious mini-games. Organizations responsible for developing awareness campaigns focusing on societal issues have to deal with many different stakeholders (e.g. academic experts, educators, domain/industry experts, the target group). Hence, in the development of serious mini-games each stakeholder should be heard. Therefore, this study suggests the use of informant design as a framework for serious mini-games to increase the support of every stakeholder. Informant design provides an excellent design methodology for games since it offers great flexibility at what time and place co-design activities with each stakeholder occur. The second part of this study further explores the different phases of informant design and how they can be successfully applied in game design by creating our own set of serious mini-games.

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