The Potential of Serious Games to Solve Water Problems: Editorial to the Special Issue on Game-Based Approaches to Sustainable Water Governance
2. Starting Points
- A growing awareness on the urgency of water resources issues and the complexity of integrated water (resource) management;
- An emerging paradigm that claims that the governance of natural resources, including water, benefits from a social learning approach;
- A growing interest in the use of simulation games as a way to instrumentalize social learning.
- How are social learning and game-based learning connected? What are the theories and concepts that tie them together?
- What games are applied in sustainability, natural resource management and water? For what purpose are they used?
- What is the function or role of games at the science-policy interface? What do policy makers and stakeholders themselves think about using simulations, games and play for policy making?
- Does serious game-play have an impact on social learning in water management, and how can we observe or measure that?
3. Why Serious Games for Water Management?
3.1. The Urgency of the Matter; Games as Drivers for Change
3.2. The Complexity of Water Management: Seeing the Bigger Picture
3.3. Stakeholders: Managing Competing Values in the Political Arena
3.4. Uncertainty: Operating at the Science-Policy Interface
3.5. Reality as a Game: Reshaping Rule-Based Interactions
3.6. Social Learning: Instrumentation and Tooling
3.7. Learning from Practice: Evidence-Based Serious Gaming
3.8. The Innovation Potential: Data, Intelligence and Immersion
4. Future Directions
4.1. Risk of Saturation
4.2. Ethical Considerations and Power Imbalance
4.3. Pitfall of Mistaken Identity
Conflicts of Interest
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- Keijser, X.; Ripken, M.; Mayer, I.; Warmelink, H.; Abspoel, L.; Fairgrieve, R.; Paris, C. Efficacy of the MSP challenge board game for stakeholder engagement in maritime spatial planning. Water 2018, 10, 724. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
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|1. Galván-Pérez et al. evaluate twenty educational videogames about water sustainability on quality of their content, game-play and educational value . They conclude that water games in the simulation genre, like managing a city or region, are highly appropriate for learning.|
2. Rodela, Ligtenberg and Bosma focus on an inventory of serious games in natural resource and environmental governance to conceptualize and discuss different uses: for research, learning and intervention . They use examples from the literature and their own experiences with a game about shrimp farming in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, to develop a framework for the design and evaluation of serious games as learning-based intervention.
|Policy-Making and Social Learning|
|1. At the science-policy interface, Zhou and Mayer reconstruct the different frames that policymakers and analysts in the Netherlands and China have about the use and usefulness of models, simulations and games . They demonstrate that social learning is only one of five different perspectives on the use of serious games, with others focusing on bureaucratic alignment, gaining stakeholder support and reducing uncertainty or emotions.|
2. Marini et al. aim to understand the relationship between social learning and serious games in a context of IWRM . They argue that Schwarz’ theory on transcendental values (i.e., beyond self-interest) provides a foundation for understanding social learning in IWRM, managing competing values and working towards long-term collaboration. This gives guidance for the design and use of serious games.
3. Aubert, Medema and Wals take up the question ‘why’ games are beneficial (or not) for social learning in IWRM . They develop a framework for design and suggest opportunities for future research.
|CASE and Field Studies|
|4. Magnuszewski et al. present the initial results of piloting a social-simulation game, called Lord of the Valley . They study the interrelations and interactions among the various stakeholders in a simulated river basin, observed during three sessions in Poland.|
5. Gomes et al. report on the design, use and results of a social simulation game on the topic of drinking water, used for capacity building in a peri-urban community in Bangladesh . The game combines game-theoretic models, with a board game and role play, and has been played with actual stakeholders living in a village near Kulna. They conclude that the game-based intervention successfully increased the understanding of the local stakeholders about the problems, solutions and institutions.
6. Ferrero, Bichai and Rusca report on the learning of students at IHE, Delft, the Netherlands in a role-playing game on drinking-water safety plans, in particular for public-health protection in drinking-water safety . They demonstrate how and why the game helps the players to understand the governance process and the negotiation among stakeholders that it requires.
7. Susnik et al. show how serious games are designed and used for twelve case studies in the ongoing SIM4NEXUS project . This project aims to integrate water-food-energy-climate for a resource-efficient Europe. The gaming approach combines system dynamics with the game AquaRepublica as a front end. The authors present the design and experiences of a pilot study in Sardinia, Italy.
8. Khoury et al. report on the design and use of a serious game for flood mitigation in a United Kingdom village . They connect their approach to ‘citizen science’, shared vision planning and give evidence for an informative and transformative effect of the game-play. The serious game uses a 3D virtual table.
9. Keijser et al. used a board game for Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) at the local, national and transnational level in a European context . The authors organized 19 game sessions, with players of different backgrounds and familiarity to the topic. They report on the satisfaction, learning and uptake of the MSP Challenge board game, measured through questionnaires and observations.
10. Jean et al. aim to understand games as planning support systems . They evaluated a computer- supported simulation-game using Maritime Spatial Planning, used with students and a few practitioners in Canada. The game was evaluated with audio–visual analysis of player interactions of individual and group learning.
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Medema, W.; Mayer, I.; Adamowski, J.; Wals, A.E.J.; Chew, C. The Potential of Serious Games to Solve Water Problems: Editorial to the Special Issue on Game-Based Approaches to Sustainable Water Governance. Water 2019, 11, 2562. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122562
Medema W, Mayer I, Adamowski J, Wals AEJ, Chew C. The Potential of Serious Games to Solve Water Problems: Editorial to the Special Issue on Game-Based Approaches to Sustainable Water Governance. Water. 2019; 11(12):2562. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122562Chicago/Turabian Style
Medema, Wietske, Igor Mayer, Jan Adamowski, Arjen E.J. Wals, and Chengzi Chew. 2019. "The Potential of Serious Games to Solve Water Problems: Editorial to the Special Issue on Game-Based Approaches to Sustainable Water Governance" Water 11, no. 12: 2562. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122562