Game studies has seen an increasing interest in serious games with a persuasive goal. Yet, empirical research about the impact of these persuasive games is still limited. This paper aims to advance the field by reporting on an explorative, qualitative study, investigating player experiences in My Life as a Refugee and PeaceMaker, games that address pressing socio-political issues. Theoretically, our research was based on immersion theory and Calleja’s account of player involvement. We conducted in-depth interviews with twelve participants. Our results showed that players experienced the two games in a similar way.
With respect to immersion, our results highlight its different aspects by showing that the games’ narratives had the largest impact on feeling immersed. Our participants also experienced ludic, affective, and spatial immersion, which partly deepened their narrative immersion. Finally, we found that perceived realism, narrative depth, and identification contributed to the immersive experience. The major contribution of this paper is showing that immersion heightened participants’ susceptibility to persuasion within the gaming environment, while adding that the roles of emotion and identification in immersion warrant further research.

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International Journal of Serious Games
ERMeCC, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture, Rotterdam

Hafner, M., & Jansz, J. (2018). The Players' Experience of Immersion in Persuasive Games: A study of My Life as a Refugee and PeaceMaker. International Journal of Serious Games, 5(4), 63–80. doi:10.17083/ijsg.v5i4.263