Adaptive and interactive climate futures: systematic review of 'serious games' for engagement and decision-making

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Flood, Stephen
Cradock-Henry, Nicholas A.
Blackett, Paula
Edwards, Peter
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Climate change is already having adverse impacts on ecosystems, communities and economic activities through higher temperatures, prolonged droughts, and more frequent extremes. However, a gap remains between public understanding, scientific knowledge about climate change, and changes in behaviour to effect adaptation. 'Serious games' - games used for purposes other than entertainment - are one way to reduce this adaptation deficit by enhancing opportunities for social learning and enabling positive action. Games can provide communities with the opportunity to interactively explore different climate futures, build capability and capacity for dealing with complex challenges, and socialise adaptation priorities with diverse publics. Using systematic review methods, this paper identifies, reviews, synthesises and assesses the literature on serious games for climate change adaptation. To determine where and how impact is achieved, we draw on an evaluation framework grounded in social learning, to assess which combinations of cognitive (knowledge and thinking), normative (norms and approaches) and relational (how people connect and network building) learning are achieved. Results show that factors influencing the overall success in influencing behaviour and catalysing learning for adaptation include generating high levels of inter- and intra- level trust between researchers, practitioners and community participants; strong debriefing and evaluation practices; and the use of experienced and knowledgeable facilitators. These results can help inform future game design, and research methodologies to develop robust ways for engaging with stakeholders and end users, and enhance learning effects for resilient climate futures.
Climate change adaptation , Social learning , Serious games , Climate services , Decision-making
Flood, S., Cradock-Henry, N. A., Blackett, P. and Edwards, P. (2018) 'Adaptive and interactive climate futures: systematic review of ‘serious games’ for engagement and decision-making', Environmental Research Letters, 13(6): 063005, (20pp.) DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aac1c6