Designing Narrative Games for a Serious Context

Eva Knutz, Thomas Markussen, Pieter Desmet, Valentijn Visch

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review

116 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we introduce a new approach to designing games for serious contexts. In contrast to Serious Games we argue that learning is a too narrow focus for serious contexts and that simulation of real world problems ought to be supplemented with other design strategies that place greater emphasis on fiction and narratives. The approach is exemplified through three game prototypes designed to be played by an inmate and his child in a prison during visiting hours. By analyzing these game prototypes we demonstrate how a game can be structured around a narrative plot in three different ways. Moreover, we discuss how narrative plots in a game may open up for developing player’s emotional experiences over time and grow social relationships between inmate and child. On the basis of our case analysis we discuss, in more detail, how our approach differs from Serious Games and we single out some key implications for emotion-driven design.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2. Sept 2012
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2. Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes

Cite this