A framework to support the development of empathic games


A subcategory of games is gaining the attention of the academic community: Empathic Games. Games that forgo some of a game’s pure entertainment value, in favor of allowing the player to experience how it is to be in "someone else’s shoes" and deal with the challenges they face in their daily lives. For example, the daily routine of a doctor, the perspective of a person in a state of grief, how does a person afflicted with a physical disability overcome their limitations etc. There are works in many different areas that highlight the importance of empathy. However, there are very few works detailing how digtal games generate empathy in the user. With this knowledge gap in mind, the present study details the creation of the conceptual framework CERCO (Components, Elements, Requirements, and COncepts) and the following artifacts: glossaries, synthesis of empathic games, historical analysis of the game industry use of empathic elements, design guidelines, and videos. This study sought to create a framework and artifacts to support professionals, of all levels of expertise, during the game-creating process; they constitute the main results of this study and are detailed further on how they can support the creation of empathic games that, via interaction, can be a tool to tackle difficult life subjects via interaction.
Palavras-chave: Empathic Games, Empathy, Frameworks, Game Analysis


Dominic Arsenault. 2017. Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Introduction). DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9787.001.0001

Ralph H Baer. 2005. Videogames: in the beginning. Rolenta Press.

M Cecília C Baranauskas, Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza, and Roberto Pereira. 2012. GranDIHC-BR: prospecção de grandes desafios de pesquisa em interação humano-computador no Brasil. In Companion Proceedings of the 11th Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 63–64.

Laura Beckwith, Margaret Burnett, Valentina Grigoreanu, and Susan Wiedenbeck. 2006. Gender HCI: What about the software?Computer 39, 11 (2006), 97–101.

Jonathan Belman and Mary Flanagan. 2010. Designing games to foster empathy. International Journal of Cognitive Technology 15, 1 (2010), 11.

Arthur Berger. 2017. Video Games: A Popular Culture Phenomenon. 3–28. DOI: 10.4324/9781351299961-2

Alice Blot. 2017. Exploring games to foster empathy.

Liz Owens Boltz, Danah Henriksen, and Punya Mishra. 2015. Rethinking technology & creativity in the 21st century: Empathy through gaming-perspective taking in a complex world. TechTrends 59, 6 (2015), 3–8.

Stuart Brown. 2015. A Brief History of Graphics. Ahoy (2015). [link]

Paolo Burelli. 2016. Game Cinematography: From Camera Control to Player Emotions. In Emotion in Games. Springer, 181–195.

Loïc Caroux and Katherine Isbister. 2016. Influence of head-up displays’ characteristics on user experience in video games. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 87 (2016), 65–79.

Steven Conway. 2010. A circular wall? Reformulating the fourth wall for videogames. Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds 2, 2 (2010), 145–155.

Patrick Crogan. 2018. Indie dreams: Video games, creative economy, and the hyperindustrial epoch. Games and Culture 13, 7 (2018), 671–689.

Cussan. 2019. Evolution of Video Game Graphics 1958-2020 [4K]. Cussan (2019). [link]

Tânia Saraiva de Melo Pinheiro, Caio Cesar Valério, Cristiano Maciel, Kamila Rios da Hora Rodrigues, and Eunice P dos Santos Nunes. 2021. Revisiting Empathy Games Concept from User Comments Perspective. In Proceedings of the XX Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 1–11.

Jack Denham, Steven Hirschler, and Matthew Spokes. 2021. The reification of structural violence in video games. Crime, Media, Culture 17, 1 (2021), 85–103.

Cambridge Dictionary. © 2022. glossary. Cambridge University Press (© 2022). [link]

Gustavo Velho Diogo. 2016. Empathy Games: Life, Death, and Digital Narratives. Radboud University (2016).

Malte Elson, Johannes Breuer, James D Ivory, and Thorsten Quandt. 2014. More than stories with buttons: Narrative, mechanics, and context as determinants of player experience in digital games. Journal of Communication 64, 3 (2014), 521–542.

Emmanoel Ferreira. 2014. Diz-me com quem andas e direi o quão ‘indie’és: relações entre gênero e mercado no cenário dos videogames independentes. In CONGRESSO INTERNACIONAL COMUNICAÇÃO E CONSUMO, Vol. 4. 1–15.

William Fonseca. 2008. O que é RPG?Tecmundo (2008). [link]

Vinícius Ferreira Galvão, Kamila Rios da Hora Rodrigues, Cristiano Maciel, Eunice Nunes, and Daniele Trevisan. 2022. Máquinas de empatia-Uma visão geral histórica da indústria sobre elementos característicos dos jogos empáticos. Anais Estendidos do XXI Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital (2022), 468–477.

Vinícius F. Galvão and Cristiano Maciel. 2022. Jogos Empáticos e um framework para melhor desenvolvêos. In XXX Seminário de Iniciação Científica da UFMT.

Displaced Gamers. 2020. Why use Generations to classify video game consoles?Displaced Gamers (2020). [link]

Michael Mansfield Georgina Goodlander. 2013. Press Start: Video Games in an Art Museum,. Journal of Interactive Humanities 1, 1 (2013), 615–624. DOI: 10.14448/jih.01.0004

Maria J Grant and Andrew Booth. 2009. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health information & libraries journal 26, 2 (2009), 91–108.

Dustin Hansen. 2016. Game on!: Video game history from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft, and more. Vol. 1. Macmillan.

Christian Happ, André Melzer, and Georges Steffgen. 2015. Like the good or bad guy—Empathy in antisocial and prosocial games.Psychology of Popular Media Culture 4, 2 (2015), 80.

Ben Hourigan. 2006. You Need Love and Friendship For This Mission!: Final Fantasy VI, VII and VIII as counterexamples to totalizing discourses on videogames. Reconstruction 6, 1 (2006).

James D Ivory. 2015. A brief history of video games. The video game debate: Unravelling the physical, social, and psychological effects of digital games (2015), 1–21.

Anker Helms Jørgensen. 2004. Marrying HCI/Usability and computer games: a preliminary look. In Proceedings of the third Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction. 393–396.

Johannes Katsarov, Markus Christen, Ralf Mauerhofer, David Schmocker, and Carmen Tanner. 2019. Training moral sensitivity through video games: A review of suitable game mechanisms. Games and Culture 14, 4 (2019), 344–366.

Steven L Kent. 2010. The Ultimate History of Video Games: from Pong to Pokemon and beyond... the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world. Vol. 1. Crown.

Charles Kivunja. 2018. Distinguishing between theory, theoretical framework, and conceptual framework: A systematic review of lessons from the field.International Journal of Higher Education 7, 6 (2018), 44–53.

Jake Kring-Schreifels. 2021. Video Games Used to Copy Movies. Now They’re Influencing Modern Action.The Ringer (2021). [link]

Petri Lankoski. 2007. Goals, affects, and empathy in games. Philosophy of computer games (2007), 1–10.

Miroslav Macák 2020. The Dawn of the 9th Console Generation: The Scalpers’ Heaven. Acta Ludologica 3, 2 (2020), 92–93.

Leonardo Dias Martins and Fabíola Pantoja Oliveira Araújo. 2021. Mineração de Texto para a Análise do Perfil Emocional de Usuários de Jogo Empático. Anais do Computer on the Beach 12 (2021), 370–377.

Sandrine Ventura MARTINS. 2019. SELF: um framework conceitual de apoio ao ensino de Engenharia de Software. Master’s thesis. Universidade Federal de Pernambuco.

Heidi McDonald. 2013. Romance Games: Unpopular Genre or Untapped Market?lecture, Montreal International Game Summit, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (2013).

Andrew McStay. 2018. Emotional AI: The rise of empathic media. Sage.

Erica Esteves Cunha de Miranda. 2021. Um framework fundamentado na engenharia de requisitos para apoiar a conformidade legal e regulatória em sistemas computacionais. (2021).

Shaun Murphy. 2020. Why do we have Video Game Console Generations and where did the term Console come from?Jenovi (2020). [link]

Federica Pallavicini, Alessandro Pepe, and Maria Eleonora Minissi. 2019. Gaming in virtual reality: What changes in terms of usability, emotional response and sense of presence compared to non-immersive video games?Simulation & Gaming 50, 2 (2019), 136–159.

André Luiz Kuczner Pereira, Andrei Ricardo Rodrigues, Eliane Cristina Amaral, Sabino Eliney, Mário Sérgio De Almeida Muniz, and Abe Narumi. 2017. Frameworks Para Desenvolvimentos de Jogos: Uma Abordagem Vantajosa no Desenvolvimento de Jogos Eletrônicos. Revista Gestão em Foco 9 (2017), 575–586.

Kamila R. H. Rodrigues, Caio Cesar Valério, Tânia S. M. Pinheiro, Cristiano Maciel, and Eunice P dos Santos Nunes. 2021. Revisiting Empathy Games Concept from User Comments Perspective. In Proceedings of the SBGames 2021.

Marina Cotta Rangel, Luciana Cardoso de Castro Salgado, and Silvia Amélia Bim. 2022. TraduBem: Towards a Text Verification Tool for an Altruistic Language. In Proceedings of the 21st Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Diamantina, Brazil) (IHC ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 44, 7 pages. DOI: 10.1145/3554364.3559143

Paolo Ruffino and Jamie Woodcock. 2021. Game workers and the empire: unionisation in the UK video game industry. Games and Culture 16, 3 (2021), 317–328.

Tech Rules. 2020. History of VR Technology, But I Have to Explain in VR | Tech Rules. Tech Rules (2020). [link]

Danilo Barros dos Santos, Tânia Saraiva de Melo Pinheiro, Cristiano Maciel, Kamila Rios da Hora Rodrigues, and Eunice Pereira dos Santos Nunes. 2020. Interpreting posts in empathic games: assumptions for a conceptual framework. In Proceedings of the 19th Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 1–10.

Joachim Schöpfel and Hélène Prost. 2021. How scientific papers mention grey literature: a scientometric study based on Scopus data. Collection and Curation 40, 3 (2021), 77–82.

Elena Shliakhovchuk and Adolfo Muñoz García. 2020. Intercultural Perspective on Impact of Video Games on Players: Insights from a Systematic Review of Recent Literature.Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice 20, 1 (2020), 40–58.

Osama Sohaib, Walayat Hussain, and M Khalid Badini. 2011. User Experience (UX) and the web accessibility standards. International Journal of Computer Science Issues (IJCSI) 8, 3 (2011), 584.

Olli Sotamaa and Jan Svelch. 2021. Game Production Studies. Amsterdam University Press.

Robert A Stebbins. 2001. Exploratory research in the social sciences. Vol. 48. Sage.

Chris Stone. 2019. The evolution of video games as a storytelling medium, and the role of narrative in modern games. Game Developer (2019). [link]

Jan Švelch. 2017. The discourses of microtransactions’ acceptance and rejection in mainstream video games. The evolution and social impact of video game economics 101 (2017).

Steve Swink. 2008. Game feel: a game designer’s guide to virtual sensation. CRC press.

Ninja Theory. ©2017. Hellblade Seuna’s Sacrifice. Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S (©2017).

Raymond Usher, Paul Robertson, and Robin Sloan. 2013. Physical responses (arousal) to audio in games. The Computer Games Journal 2 (08 2013), 5–13. DOI: 10.1007/BF03392340

videogamesfoundation. 2011. Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison testing the Brown Box [1969]. videogamesfoundation (2011). [link]

Andrew Walsh. 2021. Press Y to Cry: Generating Emotions in Videogame Narrative. Game Developers Conference (2021). [link]

Tony Warnock. 1987. Random-number generators. Los Alamos Science 15, 1987 (1987), 137–141.

George Weidman. 2017. Gaming Beyond the Iron Curtain: East Germany. Super Bunnyhop (2017). [link]

Josef Wiemeyer, Lennart Nacke, Christiane Moser, and Florian ‘Floyd’Mueller. 2016. Player experience. Serious games: Foundations, concepts and practice (2016), 243–271.

Mark JP Wolf. 2008. The video game explosion: a history from PONG to Playstation and beyond. ABC-CLIO.

Richard TA Wood, Mark D Griffiths, Darren Chappell, and Mark NO Davies. 2004. The structural characteristics of video games: A psycho-structural analysis. CyberPsychology & behavior 7, 1 (2004), 1–10.

Scott Wozniak. 2019. EyeToy for the Playstation 2 - Scott The Woz. Scott The Woz (2019). [link]

Adrian Wright. 2021. A Precarious Game: The Illusion of Dream Jobs in the Video Game Industry, Bulut, Ergin, 2020, New York, Cornell University Press. Available for 23.95 in paperback (Book Review). (2021).
GALVÃO, Vinícius Ferreira; MACIEL, Cristiano; DOS SANTOS NUNES, Eunice Pereira; DA HORA RODRIGUES, Kamila Rios. A framework to support the development of empathic games. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO SOBRE FATORES HUMANOS EM SISTEMAS COMPUTACIONAIS (IHC), 22. , 2023, Maceió/AL. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2023 .