A Breathtaking Journey. Appealing to Empathy in a Persuasive Mixed-Reality Game

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Persuasive games are designed for a variety of objectives, from marketing to healthcare and activism. Some of the more socially aware ones cast players as members of disenfranchised minorities, prompting them to see what they see. In parallel, designers have started to leverage system-immersion to enable players to temporarily feel like another person, to sense what they sense. From these converging perspectives, we hypothesize a still uncharted space of opportunities at the crossroads of games, empathy, persuasion, and system-immersion. We explored this space by designing A Breathtaking Journey, a mixed-reality game providing a first-person perspective of a refugee’s journey. A qualitative study was conducted to tease out empathy-arousing characteristics, provide insights on empathic experiences, and contribute three design opportunities: visceral engagement, reflective moments, and affective appeals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersuasive Gaming in Context
EditorsT. de la Hera, J. Jansz, J. Raessens, B. Schouten
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978 90 4854 393 9
ISBN (Print)978 94 6372 880 5
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021


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