Sensitizing: Helping Children Design Serious Games for a Surrogate Population

Sim, Gavin Robert orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9713-9388, Horton, Matthew Paul leslie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2932-2233 and Read, Janet C orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7138-1643 (2016) Sensitizing: Helping Children Design Serious Games for a Surrogate Population. In: 5th EAI International Conference on Serious Games, Interaction and Simulation, September 16–18, 2015, Italy.

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This paper describes a study to investigate to what extent the use of sensitizing techniques can help children design a serious game for a surrogate population. In total 25 children from a UK primary school aged between 8–9 participated in two design sessions. The first session was designed to inform the children about life in rural China. The second session briefly taught the children about aspects of food hygiene and then required them to design a game on this subject, for children in rural China. The outputs from the children were analysed and although all the children managed to design a game, only 6 related this at all to food hygiene, with three of these having only a single element of food hygiene present. The other 19 created games were unrelated to food hygiene. In addition, only 1 drawing showed any evidence of thinking about the target users. More work is required to understand what children can contribute to the general development of serious games and to the specifics of thinking about other populations.

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