Using Games to Solve Real-World Civic Problems: Early Insights and Design Principles

Karen L Schrier


Video games are starting to be used to support civic learning and engagement. Moreover, games are being used to crowdsource solutions to real-world problems; however, few of these games address civic problems and engage adolescents and young adults. In this paper, I explore designing and using games for real-world civic problem solving, as well as for supporting civic engagement among young adults. Using a design analysis approach, I investigate six video games and propose 20 initial design elements for use in creating and implementing civic problem-solving games. These include principles such as using authentic civic problems, data, and tools; enabling the comparison and verification of solutions to civic problems; and facilitating interaction with multiple civic-related solutions, perspectives, and roles.


civic engagement; civic learning; crowdsourcing; community engagement; video games

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