University of Padova

Persuasive Videogames: VIDEODOPE

Project Description

Speaking about drug prevention with adolescents and young adults it is hard issue, in particular if the final aim is to their medium and long-term risks.
Prevention is usually addressed in the scholastic context by educators or professors, or it relies on informative flyers reporting general information. Videodope aims at offering an alternative to these traditional approach.
Videodope can be categorized as “Serious Game”; because it aims at providing information on short, medium and long term effects of psychoactive substance use on the body and on social aspects.
Tools such as educational videogames can be able to capture the audience and the user’s attention adopting a language they like and offering the advantage of scalability, persistency, ubiquity, anonymity, multimodality; at the same time, serious games can store, access, and manipulate huge amounts of data. Videodope’s purpose is to reach adolescents and the young adults using a recreational approach exploiting their own language.

Work Description

Videodope is composed by two different modules: while the first one consists in a navigation section, based on the visualization of a 3D human body surrounded by icons, leading to information about drugs’ effects; the second section is a quiz to test acquired users’ knowledge about drugs, as well as risks and consequences of their abuse.

The first module contains a navigation menu: users have the possibility to click on icons to select the avatar’s gender and the drug among several possible ones (alcohol, hallucingones, amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, heronine e ketamine). After the selection, a 3D model of the body is displayed, the effects of substances on the organs. Physical and psychological consequences of the chosen drug on organs become visible by clicking on the icons surrounding the model, together with legal and social consequences displayed in the form of a written texts and pictures.

The second module is structured as a quiz: questions are based on the information provided during the navigation in the previous module. Questions are randomly selected on a range of 30 and they cover all the aspect of the information addressed by Videodope, from physical effects to drug testing and legal aspects. At the end of the quiz the user receives a score reflecting the level of acquired knowledge.


May/June, 2006: The first usability test of Videodope was conducted, Beta version 1.0 was ready to be evaluated in the field.

8-9 July, 2006: The first in field evaluation was accomplished during the Rototom Sunsplash Festival, an important Italian music festival.
The analysis was conducted on 49 people (38 males, 11 females) aged 24.7 (on average).
Participants took one individual session of Videodope. At the end of the navigation module we asked them to fill in a “paper and pencil” questionnaire of 12 items testing their knowledge about substances and their satisfaction about the game.
Their answers revealed that the game resulted to be very interesting: in the 90% of cases, respondents declared that they would have liked to play again spontaneously, and almost 70% of them would have liked to navigate for more than one session in order to find out information about other substances.

February, 2007: A new section containing legislation about drugs and risks due to driving under the effect of drugs and alcohol was added.
Specific music for each drug plus a feedback provided in case of wrong answers during the second module of Videodope were also added to the interface.
Beta Version 2.0 was ready.

7-10 July, 2007: A second in field evaluation was carried at the Rototom Sunsplash Festival in order to test the new version of Videdope; 53 participants (37 males and 16 females aged 24,36 on average) took part at this evaluation. 95% of participants declared that they would have liked to try again Videodope spontaneously and 80% would have liked to navigate for another session. Thereby, even after the modifications, Videodope was judged to be even more interesting than the first version.

20-21 July, 2007: A further in field evaluation was conducted at the Sherwood Festival in Padua; 31 participants (18 males and 13 females) aged 24.77 (on average) were involved. Results confirmed the trend verified in the previous evaluations, with the same percentage of people who appreciated the application.

25 August, 2007: A third evaluation set was conducted during the Navigli Festival, a manifestation organised in Padua, usually frequented by students of the University of Padua. Participant were13 (9 male and 4 female) aged 24.55 on average. The positive results of the two previous evaluations were confirmed.
All this evaluation allowed us to collect data and suggestions directly from possible final users.
One aspect underlined by the audience was the possibility to include some videos highlighting common aspects of the drug use and abuse.
Considering this suggestion, Beta Version 3.0 includes such videos.

November, 2007: Videodope received the attention of one of the most popula news paper in Italy “La Repubblica” an article about Videodope was published in the weekly insert “Il Venerdì”.

March, 2008: Dott. Renato Bricolo, a national expert on drug policy, helped Videodope developers to further modify the game. Furthermore, some bugs and wrong information were corrected, paying particular attention to pharmacological and medical effects related to drugs consume. The quiz part was revised ,some questions changed ; information about the new legislation on drug policy inserted.
After the first interest showed by the media to the VideoDope game, the project has also gained the attention of toxicological services and hospitals across Italy, such as Ferrara (Area Giovani Project, March 14th, 2008), Monza (MI) (ASL 3, April 14th, 2008), Alba (CN) (Ser.T, May 14th, 2008) and at Marzana (VR) (the Alcohol prevention department, May 29th, 2008).

December, 2008: Prof. Luciano Gamberini was interviewed by the regional Tv Channel Tele Alto Veneto; among the themes of the interview, the Videodope Project particularly attracted the attention of journalists.

January, 2008: A service about Videodope appeared on “Neapolis”, a transmission on new technologies broadcasted by the the Italian Public Channel “Rai 3″. The title was ‘A Serious Game against the drug use”.

HTLab Publications

– Breda, L.. (2006). VIDEODOPE: a persuasive software in the drugs’ education. Poster presented at HTLab Day: Cognitive Science and Technology 06, University of Padova, May, 26, 2006

– Gamberini L., Breda L. and Grassi A. (2007) VIDEODOPE: applying persuasive technology to improve awareness of drugs abuse effects. HCI’07,Beijing, July 22-27.

Press Clippings

Videogioco con i comportamenti di chi si droga” Il Gazzettino di Padova 20.08.07, Padova (I)

Contro la droga ora si gioca la carta del videogame” Il Venerdi di Repubblica, p 96-97, 23.11.07, Roma (I)

Un videogioco sui vari tipi di droga, vince chi ne riconosce di più” Il Padova, 26.11.07,Padova (I)

Un Videogame per prevenire il consumo delle droghe” Il Gazzettino di Padova, 6.12.07 Padova (I)

On-line Clippings

Alessia Marta,, 11.12.07

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