Blog post 7. “Studio Visit/Empathy in Video Games”

This week started off with a NetNarr studio visit with Remi Kalir and Keegan Long Wheeler, who are both opinion leaders in the realm of gaming and learning within gaming. They had some interesting topics and reflection on the difference on play and games. And how different people have different plays or different games in their peers. As in their daily life is full of different activities that can be seen as a play, and as a game of sorts. But moral of the studio visit is that different perspectives and different times in life anything can be seen as a game, or can be gamified.

Thoughtbox: “Kids will be kids, they’ll suddenly make the floor lava or walk through a portal into another universe. One might never really stop playing, we grow older – but never quit being a child”. 

Serious Games & Empathy Games

“… a game designed for an primary purpose other than pure entertainment.”


In essence, serious games can be applied as an umbrella term for any game-based initiative that has additional, serious agenda. With this, there is sorts of a bigger perspective on things through something interesting as games. We will come back to this with example games. But as gamification, game-based learning and serious games are all focused on one thing – securing engagement. And why to secure engagement? Usually in an agenda of empathy and enlightenment. Keep in mind that there are two types of empathy; cognitive – which is to understanding another’s perspective and identifying with that person, and emotional– being affected by another person’s emotional state. Earlier mention that people have different perspective on things, and people play video games differently depending on which empathetic method they use: cognitive, as in playing the game as main character or emotional, playing the game as a separate person who is helping the main character.

An interesting topic of empathy, is that empathy is based differently in each person. What is meant by that is that empathy is a type of skill. A developed skill within yourself. The skill to imagine yourself in another situation, maybe worse or bad or just difficult of sorts. And with empathy games, this will broaden their skill of empathy a lot to train that skill by encouraging players to create new context depending on the storyline in the video game. So if you wish to feel more empathy or feel sorry for someone or something, play some emotional video games. Or really just engage in some different emotional medias, movies etc. Situated knowledge is the idea that knowledge can only be objective when it is paired with a particular perspective that makes it true. Empathy games help gaining situated knowledge because they expose users to situated that the users would not normally experience. With the right perspective, the user can now understand the validity of statements they would otherwise doubt because they had not experienced it.

That Dragon, Cancer

At the 2016 Game Awards, the incredibly evocative game That Dragon, Cancer was honored with the prestigious ‘Games for Impact’ Award. This award presents the winner with a specific kind of recognition within the industry. To have a title that wins the ‘Games for Impact’ award establishes that the game stood above all others in terms of delivering an experience that is meaningful and thought-provoking. These games leave a firm impact on the player long after they have finished playing the game. That Dragon, Cancer is a very significant game that leaves a mark on anyone who has played it.

The game serves as a memoir for Joel Green who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age one and sadly passed away at age four. Ryan and Amy Green (The parents of Joel) headed the development of That Dragon, Cancer to serve as a celebration of Joel’s life.

“You let us tell the story of my son Joel.” – That Dragon, Cancer

Ryan Green tells a crowd of supportive and teary-eyed gamers while accepting the ‘Games for Impact’ award: “And in the end, it was not the story that we wanted to tell. But you chose to love us through our grief by being willing to stop, and to listen, and to not turn away. To let my son, Joel’s, life change you because you chose to see him, and to experience how we loved him”. It is as they say, a journey of hope – in the shadow of death.


With that leaves an intermission highlighting our professors intricate #textstransformation exhibition at the HF-library this past week. It will showcase for some time more, so be sure to catch the intricasy while it is still there.



As always, check me out on twitter! Lots of PUGB mobile for the moment, but is soon to jump in on the #DDA’s – stay tuned!


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