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Session Information

TitleGames for Persuasion: Argumentation, Procedurality, and the Lie of Gamification

John FerraraJohn Ferrara is the creative director of Megazoid Games and author of the new book Playful Design. His nutrition education game Fitter Critters was a top prizewinner in the Apps for Healthy Kids contest, an initiative of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign. John's professional background is in software user experience design and his educational background is in film; today he is a forceful advocate for holistic integration across multiple disciplines concerned with the construction of human experiences. He believes that games can effect meaningful change in the real world, that game designers are permanently transforming culture, and that play is a fundamental function of life. You can follow John on Twitter at @playfuldesign.

TimeSaturday, October 20, 9:00a-10:00a
DescriptionThe greatest threat to the success of serious games is inattention to the quality of the player experience. The gamification fad endorses a canard that games can be strip-mined for "useful" bits that, when tacked onto conventional applications, should be expected to have the same effects as true games. This lie exposes a disdain for play and an incapacity to perceive games themselves as useful and worthwhile endeavors. Inevitably, this approach leads to thoughtless design and miserable experiences.

Creating games that achieve great things in the real world while remaining enjoyable experiences instead requires working with the prodigious strengths inherent to the medium. This presentation will dive deeply into one such strength, exploring how the native procedurality of video games makes them a potentially ideal way to persuade people to adopt a particular point of view. It will cover the history and modern theory (Bogost, 2007) of persuasive games, offer guidelines for crafting arguments based in gameplay, and present a case study of the design of a persuasive game.

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