CfP: Mechanics, Mechanisms & Devices: to Inform, Reflect & Change Behaviour – Workshop @ ICEC 2013,

Mechanics, Mechanisms & Devices: to Inform, Reflect & Change Behaviour, Oct 15, 2013


Workshop in conjunction with the IFIP 12th International Conference on Entertainment Computing – ICEC 2013, São Paulo, Brazil

This workshop focuses on the design, development and evaluation of devices at the heart of gameplay and interaction – the mechanics, procedures, actions, mechanisms, systems, story and narrative, etc. – that provide messages, arguments, triggers, nudges and experience to inform and educate, encourage reflection and raise awareness, and to influence behaviour and for behaviour change. The workshop, co-located with IFIP ICEC 2013 12th International Conference on Entertainment Computing in São Paulo, Brazil, aims to bring together designers, developers, evaluators and researchers from industry and academia, and educators and interested participants to share, discuss and learn about the workshop topics. It will be composed of presentations, panels and breakout group discussion sessions to discuss and debate the topics of the workshop. Registration to the workshop is open through ICEC 2013 & SBGames 2013 websites.

Application areas and purposes can typically be categorized as follows:
• Health, Lifestyle & Well-being: influence/change behaviours to improve health & quality of life
• Learning, Education and Raising Awareness
• Social Change: persuade / influence behaviour to take action
• Advertising and Marketing: shift/focus attention on services or brand & persuade behaviour

Background and Related Work
Government, commerce, marketing, health & well-being, energy efficiency and sustainability, etc. identify and use a plethora of non-interactive information-based devices including policies, legislation and campaigns in an attempt to persuade, influence or change behaviours. But is non-interactive information and awareness sufficient, or are other techniques and devices needed? Meanwhile, tertiary education increasingly supports the delivery of on-line subjects, courses and degrees, but should additional supportive and persuasive interactive approaches be harnessed to ensure effective and sustainable learning / education?

Because of their motivational, entertaining, playful and engaging qualities, games, serious games and interactive and social media have an important role to play in this emerging arena to provide information, encourage reflection and to influence and change behaviour. We identify three main synergistic areas of focus for this workshop, mechanics, mechanisms and devices to:

1. learn, educate, inform or make aware
2. encourage reflection, contemplation or deliberation
3. persuade or influence behaviour change

Games, interactive and social media, and associated communities that address aspects of these areas are numerous. For example, persuasive technology that is designed to change attitudes or behaviours through persuasion and social influence (e.g. B. J. Fogg), alternate reality games that tackle real-world problems by influencing people through positive psychology (e.g. Jane McGonigal).

Specific well-known examples include Brenda Brathwaite’s “Mechanic is the Message” series of analogue game works that capture and express “difficult emotions with a games mechanic”. Participants of her games not only learn about difficult topics in history, such as, the Middle Passage and slave trade (“The New World 2008)”, the Cromwellian Invasion of Ireland (“Síochán leat” aka “The Irish Game” 2009), and the Holocaust and the transportation of people to concentration camps (“Train 2009”), but through gameplay, are complicit in these difficult events that either emerge during the game or are revealed fully after the game. Hence, the associated difficult experiences and emotion continue after the game has finished. Experiences that resonate or linger following an encounter (gameplay, interaction) encourage reflection and potentially act as trigger for behaviour change.

Other examples that aim to address aspects of these areas come from Ian Bogost’s game development company Persuasive Games that design games to represent arguments that aim to influence players to take action following gameplay. For example, Fatworld is a game that explores the relationships between obesity, nutrition, and socioeconomics in the USA; “CNN Planet in Peril: Animal” a game in which players try to save as many rare creatures from captivity as possible, and “Windfall” a game about building wind turbine farms to create clean energy efficiently.

Because of the many crossovers and common features in all these approaches, one of the main aims of this workshop is to create a forum where interested participants can share, discuss and learn from past, on-going and future research and projects.

Submission & Topics of Interest
We invite the submission of 2-4 page position and theory papers, and papers that describe on-going and original research and development work that contributes to the design, development and evaluation of mechanics, mechanisms & devices to provide information, encourage reflection and to influence and change behaviour. In particular, we seek submissions that focus on or address (but not restricted to) the following topics:

• Mechanics/experience to inform or provide a message or argument
• Character and role-play to enact / become complicit in historical, social and perhaps difficult events/scenarios
• Techniques for embedding messages and arguments in interactive story
• Entertaining and non-entertaining gameplay/interaction
• Encourage reflection during and following an encounter (gameplay, interaction)
• Experience that resonates or lingers following an encounter to encourage reflection and change behaviour
• Advertising and Marketing – shift/focus attention on services or brand and persuade behaviour
• Blended approaches using technology and non-technology, & in-game and off-game approaches
• Gamification – applying gaming characteristics to non-gaming activities
• Motivating and sustaining behaviour change

Please send submissions and short 100 word biography to ICEC2013.MechanicsWorkshop (AT) gmail.com. Participants will be invited to submit extended papers for consideration for publication in a journal SI (tba).

Important Dates
July 30 – Submission Deadline
August 30 – Notification of Acceptance
October 15 – Workshop

Organisers (in alphabetical order)
Jannicke Baalsrud Hauge, BIBA, Bremen University, Germany.
Sidney Fels, University of British Columbia, Canada.
Christian Jones, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.
Minhua Eunice Ma, Glasgow School of Art, UK.
Rainer Malaka, Bremen University, Germany.
Tim Marsh, James Cook University, Australia.
Bonnie Nardi, University of California, Irvine, USA.
Eric van de Spek, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands.

Contact us at:  ICEC2013.MechanicsWorkshop (AT) gmail.com

IFIP Technical Committee 14 on Entertainment Computing & Working Group 14.8 on Serious Games

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