Games as entertainment mechanisms can be exploited to promote education, social relationships and behaviour changes. In this chapter, we discuss how mobile multiplayer games that explore interaction with public displays stimulate engagement, persuasion and social interaction. We developed Gaea, a persuasive location-based multiplayer mobile game, which prompts people to recycle virtual objects within a geographical area. The goals of this prototype were to instruct, inform and persuade users to recycle their wastes. Four key requirements guided Gaea’s design and development: making use of a natural environment; reaching a large number of people; promoting entertainment; and fostering social engagement. With these ideas in mind, Gaea was designed to take advantage of the intrinsic characteristics of mobile devices (allowing players to freely move around while communicating and receiving information) and public displays (allowing audience awareness and players’ social engagement). Players use a smartphone to locate and collect the virtual litter in their surroundings, which should then be dropped into the correct virtual recycle bin, available for selection when approaching the public display. Gaea raises users’ awareness to the impact of their actions on our planet’s natural resources. It also promotes users’ physical activity, social interaction and environmental behaviour changes. User studies were performed, revealing encouraging results that are also described in this chapter.
Playful User Interfaces - Interfaces that Invite Social and Physical Interaction