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Categories: apps, behavioural change, Education, Healthcare, Marketing & communication, serious game, teaching, youth

Client: Trimbos Institute

At this moment there is not enough attention to mental health in secondary education (high-schools), despite the importance of this subject. In collaboration with the Trimbos institute we developed the serious game Moving Stories. The main goal of Moving Stories is for teens to beter help themselves and each other if they are not doing well. The game is designed to serve four sub-goals: reading the signs of lowered mental health, opening discussions, offering a way to cope and reducing stigma. When psychological complaints are acknowledged at a younger age and the right help is offered, long term results are usually better.

Awards:

  • Nomination Dutch Game Awards

In Short

Moving Stories is a first person, single player game in the form of an app for phone or tablet. For five days all the students in the class play the game by themselves for about 10 minutes a day. After the fifth day there is a discussion with the class and and someone who has firsthand experience in this field.

The Game

In the game, you live as a player at home with your cousin Lisa, who has not got out of bed for a while. You do not know exactly what’s going on and you’re trying to help her. You can talk to Lisa and do various thing every day, such as making coffee, cleaning up or calling her GP.

During the day you will receive feedback from Lisa. This comes in the form of text messages (notifications) on your phone. During the day, all players in the class will receive messages from the game on a regular basis. Some will get positive responses while others will receive angry or sad message from Lisa. These notifications are aimed to have players compare their strategies with each other, and have conversations between class mates initiated by themselves in a low-threshold way.

Validation

During development, the game was been tested multiple times with end users and experts. The game has shown a positive effect in practical situations. In 2017, two randomized controlled trials were started with more than 3000 students in order to validate Moving Stories.

A unique collaboration

Moving Stories is a co-production from Trimbos Institute and IJsfontein. The parties involved were fully integrated. The concept was conceived by IJsfontein together with two professors and researchers from the Trimbos Institute and the Radboud University.

For serious games in healthcare, it’s vital that scientists and game developers work together closely from the beginning. They learn from each other and can cover risks, making the effects, both commercial and scientific, better. Often, such co-operation causes major delays in the process because of the two colliding systems. In this unique collaboration we have been able to seamlessly connect the academic process to the game’s development process.

Researchers were always part of the development team and user testing for the development process was also designed to generate data for validation. As a result, we have been able to develop a game that can be deployed at all schools in the Netherlands and also founded an affiliation with the international research and prevention community for a global rollout.