Exploring the impact of perspective-taking game design techniques in a different context

Henrique Gil, Mike Mannion, Caroline Parker, Romana Ramzan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In game design, the choice of design technique to use to engender empathy within a game player is an outstanding challenge. One element of empathy is the notion of perspective-taking. This paper explores the extent to which four
previously used perspective-taking game design techniques, when applied in a different context, have a similar or different impact. The four techniques are point of view, avatar, similarities, and switching avatars. These techniques are known to
have an impact on how a player identifies with their in-game representation and how it may have an impact on their perspective-taking. The new context into which they are applied is a game designed to develop empathic feelings towards
immigrant workers (a person who goes into another country and works there) in different office workplace engagement settings. Twenty participants played the game. Before playing the game, each participant completed a questionnaire about
their perceived level of empathy and their personal attitudes towards immigrant workers. Instrumentation was used to record each player’s perspective-taking choices during the game. Each player was interviewed after the game about their
choices and the extent to which they felt that their perceived levels of empathy had changed. A total of 45% of the players thought that the techniques enhanced their ability to perspective-take, 25% were uncertain and 30% thought the techniques did not impact their ability to perspective-take. Switching avatars was voted upon the most as the better technique. Authenticity and perceptive reasoning were the most common referenced traits ascribed to the techniques used. Eventually the perspective-taking game techniques provided support in a broader sense showing that they are tools that can be used to help facilitate, contribute, and support some degree of perspective-taking, knowing that each technique has its own merits and should be used with such consideration. This paper discusses the implications of these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th European Conference on Game Based Learning
EditorsPanagiotis Fotaris
PublisherAcademic Conferences International
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781914587122
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
ISSN (Print)2049-0992


  • identity
  • serious games
  • empathy game design
  • immigrant workers
  • perspective-taking
  • avatar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Education
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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