Privacy Game

As part of the VOME project ( I was responsible for designing a card game to help people explore and discuss issues around online privacy. Players take on a variety of roles and have to collect and arrange personal data, making some public and keeping other types private. The game is based upon qualitative social research, and theories of educational and persuasive games. You can download a printable version of the game from here. I'm currently advising the Open University as they take advantage of the game's  Creative Commons license to produce an online version.

Players work to build a 'database' of personal information, whilst keeping other information hidden. In doing so, they explore the tensions between public and private, and have to make active decisions as well as negotiate with other players. This highlights choice and decision in the exchange of online information, which is often backgrounded and taken for granted.

The game was based upon qualitative ethnographic research into online privacy, with the types of personal information in the game coming from those studies. The cards feature quotes from research participants. As well as a game, the cards can be used to stimulate discussion in focus groups or with interviewees.

Games can be a particularly powerful tool for research dissemination, and we've had a lot interest in this project. You can build games based upon the underlying 'rules' of a social situation, and then allow players to interact with those rules. This can then lead to both better understanding of those rules, and questioning of practices that might have remained unexamined. 

I'm interested in doing further work in the area of political and educational games, as well as games as research dissemination method. If you'd like to learn more about this, feel free to contact me.