Shaping Attitudes

Across Realities

An IFIP ICEC 2017 Workshop on

Designing Immersive Interactive

Entertainment with Persuasive Intent



September 18, 2017


Tsukuba City, Japan


IFIP ICEC 2017 Attendees: Free
Workshop Only: ¥5.000 (± €40 or $45)*
*50% discount for Ba / Ma Students
IFIP ICEC 2017 Conference attendance not required for participation in the workshop

Workshop Focus

Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality technologies are embraced by designers, scholars and charities alike, some primarily for their entertaining properties, others also for the opportunities in education, motivation or persuasion. Applications with the latter objective, that of persuasion, are designed not only to be entertaining, but also hold the intent to shape how players think and feel about issues in reality. However, despite the growing interest in the persuasive opportunities of these immersive technologies, we are at the very forefront and still lack the design strategies and best-practices that could support in the design of these ‘immersive persuasive games’. With this workshop we aim to address this issue.

Workshop Approach

With this hands-on design-oriented (20% talking, 80% doing) workshop we bring together academic and industry experts to advance persuasive game design. Together we explore traditional and contemporary design opportunities for (immersive) persuasive games, and subsequently generate exemplar work, best-practices and design strategies through making, play-testing and reflecting.

Example of a Mixed Reality game with Persuasive Intent: A Breathtaking Journey



About a decade ago Bogost, grounded in Murray’s concept of procedurality [18], pointed at the unique persuasive properties of games, coining ‘procedural rhetoric’. Procedural rhetoric is seen as “the art of persuasion through rule-based representations and interactions rather than the spoken word, writing, images or moving pictures” [4]. Through rules and procedures, in particular how simulations play out, games can covertly present players with enthymemes framed to tell something about issues in reality. A classic example of a persuasive game is Darfur is Dying; a “viral video game for change” that “was created in 2006 to put you [the player] in the shoes of a displaced Darfurian refugee” [20]. And as Bogost’s work suggested, the interactive component of the game has indeed shown to improve its persuasive capacity [19,25]. In the same vein we see that empathy can be used as a persuasive appeal [23], with games being particularly interesting for their role-taking affordances [19]. And as Boltz et al. [5] argue, “well-designed empathy games can also encourage us [the players] to evaluate choices and consequences, and to question the system a game represents”.

Several scholars have also pointed at the more holistic persuasive potency of immersive experiences [2,7,12,14,15], possibly resulting in a similar ‘suspension of disbelief’ known from narrative persuasion [6], in which the player is so deeply engaged with the content that she is less inclined to think critically about presented arguments.

Novel Opportunities

A decade after Bogost’s seminal work on persuasive games the objective to ‘put the player in the shoes of someone else’ as means to raise empathy and shape attitudes, is still very much alive. Artists like Milk [17] have already dubbed virtual reality (VR) the “ultimate empathy machine”, and situated at the crossroads of procedurality, empathy, and presence we see an increasing interest in ‘immersive persuasive games’. This is exemplified with recent projects like Project Syria [8], DeathTolls Experience [9] and A Breathtaking Journey [14], which, just like Darfur is Dying, are designed with the intent to raise empathy and shape attitudes towards refugees. 


With this hands-on design-oriented workshop we bring together academic and industry experts to advance persuasive game design. We explore traditional and contemporary design opportunities for (immersive) persuasive games, and subsequently generate best-practices and design strategies through making, play-testing and reflecting. This workshop will be held as a single-day event and is organized around a series of guided iterative design cycles. No technical or game design experience is required as we use physical prototyping techniques on a life-size scale

Workshop Planning

Below you will find a preliminary planning for the workshop including the presentation of submitted abstracts, argument iterative prototyping, reflection, and formulation of best-practices and design strategies for persuasive game design.

9:00 - 10:30 | PechaKucha

After a brief introduction to the workshop, we ask each participant to present a PechaKucha presentation [13] based on their submitted abstract; including a short biography, their work, and the outlined design opportunities or issues. As a group, we will summarize the opportunities or issues, which will serve as input for the design sessions.

10:30 - 11:30 | Ideation

We divide the group into teams of 3 participants. Each team will receive a document outlining the topic and persuasive message; including background stories, a persuasive game design toolkit and prototyping material. Each team is tasked to explore the topic, formulate preferred attitudes, arguments, personas and player experience.

11:30 - 12:00 | Lunch Break

A short lunch break to refresh and be socially awkward.

12:00 - 16:00 | Prototyping

Each team will have three timed sessions to work on their prototype. With the provided materials and tools the teams are asked to iteratively create a low-fidelity version of their game through body-storming [22], followed with role-playing [24] (guided by an open attitudinal questionnaire [16]) to evaluate player experience. During these evaluations the team members will act as the game’s mechanics, while someone from another team acts as the player.

16:00 - 17:00 | Formulating Design Insight

We will discuss insights and formulate possible strategies, techniques and best-practices that were supportive for the creation of a game with persuasive intent.

Workshop Pilot in May, 2017 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

We will be prototyping on a life-size scale, to mimic immersive environments without the need for technical ‘know-how’. Some inspiration:

The images belong to their respective owners

Location & Date

The workshop will be hosted in conjunction with the 16th International Conference on Entertainment Computing 2017 at the Tsukuba International Congress Center (Epochal Tsukuba) on the 18th of September 2017 in Tsukuba City, Japan. The workshop will be provided in English, but a translator will be present to translate to Japanese. The workshop will be provided in English, but a translator will be present to translate the primary presentations to Japanese.

Call for Participation

Workshop Participation

Participants are asked to submit a letter of interest (with a maximum of 500 words), this will help the workshop organizers to evaluate the number of participants and helps us tailor the workshop to participants’ interests. The letter should include the name of the participant, affiliation, background, the motivation for joining the workshop, and preferably (but not necessary) some ideas for novel persuasive game design.

No technical skills are required to participate in the workshop, but an affinity with one of the following topics is a plus:

  • Theory, design or analysis of an (immersive) persuasive game, prototype or concept.
  • (Immersive) persuasive game design strategies, techniques or best-practices.
  • The use of novel technologies, particularly immersive technologies, in a persuasive game.
  • Interview or ethnographic study related to the development of an (immersive) persuasive game.

Letters (in .PDF format) should be sent to and with the subject IFIP ICEC 2017 SAAR Workshop – ‘name of first author’. Letters will be reviewed by the organizers and notification of acceptance will be sent to the authors. Participants who also wish to visit the IFIP ICEC 2017 conference are advised to register quickly after notifications as cheaper early bird tickets for the conference are available until July 18, 2017.

PGiC Book Draft Invitation

Authors of a high-quality design-based workshop letters will be invited to submit a short-paper, based on their workshop submission, for the Persuasive Gaming in Context (PGiC) book, co-edited by the primary workshop organizer, and published by Amsterdam University Press. The book will be announced at the Persuasive Gaming 2017 conference, a CHI Play 2017 satellite event [27]. Design-based submissions describe the design (and evaluation) of a game designed with persuasive intent. We will contact authors of eligible workshop abstract on August 25, 2017.


Martijn Kors

Martijn Kors

Main Organizer |

is a doctoral candidate and game designer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Eindhoven University of Technology. In his design-research he studies the design of interactive entertainment with persuasive intent.

Karel Millenaar

Karel Millenaar

Main Organizer |

is a game designer who supports research as a resident designer and lecturer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He also designs serious games for change with his company FourceLabs.

Erik van der Spek

Erik van der Spek

Support |

is an assistant professor of game design at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He researches the design of games and play for learning, motivation and attitude change.

Ben Schouten

Ben Schouten

Support |

is a full professor in playful interactions at the Eindhoven University of Technology, and lector in Play and Civic Media at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Gabriele Ferri

Gabriele Ferri

Support |

is a postdoctoral researcher at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He pursues a research agenda focusing on the use of urban games as design tools to empower minorities.

Tim Marsh

Tim Marsh

Support |

is currently with the Griffith Film School at Griffith University, in Brisbane, Australia. He lectures in Experimental Game Design and his research focuses on design and development of interactions, narratives and activities with digital media, games, VR and serious games.

Accepted Participants

Ms. Ai Nakajima – Japan – University of Tokyo
Mr. Bernd Hollerit – Japan – University of Tokyo
Mr. Born Felix – Germany – University of Duisburg-Essen
Dr. Drevin Gunther – South Africa – North-West Univesity
Mr. Foxman Maxwell – U.S.A. – Columbia University
Dr. Michael Brandse – Japan – Digital Hollywood University
Mr. Polzer Mikel Elias – Austria – University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Mr. Tanaka Hiroki – Japan – Waseda University
Ms. Umezawa Akino – Japan – Future University Hakodate
Mr. Ueda Yuki – Japan – University of Tsukuba
Mr. Nagashima Takuya – Japan – University of Tsukuba
Mr. Yamashita Ken – Japan – University of Tsukuba


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