University of Padova

E_Democracy through serious games

Project Description

ICT allow citizens to access and acquire more and more crucial information related to the democracy life of their country, to analyze it in detail and to increase the participation of people to active citizenship, concept defined e-democracy. In order to analyze this tendency, we decided to study a specific category of these interactive products, the serious games. They are an alternative information tools, which attract the attention of young people toward social activities. My qualitative research has been conducted on three specific serious games: Democracy, Election Play e Mc Donald’s game (see images above). The aim of this research is to analyze the efficacy of videogames for the diffusion of information, the influence to change the player’s opinions and behavior in connection with the game topic.

Election Play Game Democracy Game
Work Description

The experiment for each game has been split in two phases, the first one includes the navigation and the second one the interview. The sample of the research includes 90 participants in total (30 per game), including 45 males and 45 females between 20 and 31 years. They have a medium -high level of schooling: undergraduates, graduates and PhD. The interview is composed of 5 open questions and was divided into 3 modules, each with a different purpose. The first module, comprising the first and second question, was created to identify possible changes inherent in the ideas of the subject on the topic of the game. The second module, which includes the third and the fourth question, was created to verify the influence of the game on the player’s behavior in relation to themes developed from all games. The third and final module includes the last question and aims to gather suggestions about software’s optimization to make improvements.

Mc Donald's Game Mc Donald's Game
Results

The research shows that “Democracy”, “Election Play” and “Mc Donald’s game” are valid tools to influence the opinion of the participants in relation to topics covered from every game. Analyzing in detail each game, the research shows that only the players of Mc Donald’s game have not been influenced by the game. Their opinion about the products made by the American Multinational has not been changed, in particular if we consider the negative aspects. The reason is that more than half of participants have a negative perception of those products. With connection to the main changes of players, the serious games have represented a great chance to acquire a higher number of information about the topic of each game. The consequence is a more conscious knowledge about issues of great social significance. The influence of the serious games on the participant’s behavior is not significant in all the three games, indeed the behavior changes only in half of participants. Finally, the research doesn’t show gender differences with connection to the perception of the opinion’s change, both as well as the influence of the games on the player’s behavior.


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