Design Principles for Social Impact Games

Fares Kayali, Vera Schwarz, Gerit Götzenbrucker, Peter Purgathofer

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


This paper examines the game design of YourTurn!, a playful intervention with the objective of fostering intercultural relationships and awareness among youths in Vienna, Austria. Special attention is paid to how the intervention is designed to increase its social impact. YourTurn! was developed within a multi-disciplinary context and evaluated in a longitudinal study comprised of semi-structured interviews with 51 youths, one set conducted before and the second set after a three-month play intervention. We describe how the game mechanics were designed based on the desired impact and then reflect on their effects based on the evaluation of the second set of interviews. The results show a positive impact but also issues with the intervention’s lightweight approach to an important social issue. Based on qualitative feedback, gameplay metrics and a reflection from a design perspective we abstract a series of guidelines for the design of social impact games, which can be broadly structured into the areas creative play and social interaction, media literacy, and relating a game to its audience’s everyday habits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-79
Number of pages12
JournaleLearning Papers
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 508007 Communication science


  • e-learning
  • game design
  • serious games


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