Play My Games

As well as creating ResearchGames commercially for research projects, I’ve also made games for researchers in order to show them how to use Games and Gamification in face-to-face and digital research.
I’ve developed a portfolio of these games which I use in seminars and workshops with the research industry. My digital ResearchGames for my clients, like Campbell’s Soup and IMPRINTS Futures, aim to increase engagement and collect more accurate data from participants. Some of my ResearchGame trailers are available on the Research Through Gaming YouTube channel here:

Do you want to know how to design a 20 minute ResearchGame yourself? Play my game “20 for 20″ on your own or in a team:

20 for 20 is a game to show researchers how to use Games for research with a practical How To guide so you’re making a game, within a game!

What you will need:

1) Your project brief that you’re going to ‘gamify’. Make sure you follow the R.A.C.A.B. mnumonic, therefore understanding the clients’:
Research Objectives: what are your clients research objectives? While you’re trying to understand this, what are your clients company objectives? Your ResearchGame design HAS to uphold and relate to these objectives.
Age group of target participants and gender. Understanding the age and gender of your target demographic will allow you to produce a better, and more relevant ResearchGame design.
Culture of target audience. As above, understanding the culture of your target demographic will allow you to produce a better ResearchGame design.
Analysis needs: what are our clients analysis needs, and how can you help shape the game-play and levels to match your clients analysis needs?
Budget: what is the budget of your client and how can your game design keep within that budget?

2) Understand what a game IS. All games have Rules, a feedback system and a goal (or many smaller goals leading up to a wider ultimate goal). Incorporate these mechanics into your research and you will have a game.

3)Grab a few different coloured marker pens and the biggest sheets of paper you can find. This will be for drawing and brainstorming ideas in the 20 minutes you have.
4) Set up a count-down timer on your phone, and set it to countdown from 20 minutes. Don’t increase the time, as 20 minutes is a quick burst of time that you can realistically find in your working day.

How to start:

If you’re in a team, make sure everyone involved understands the project brief (research objectives) at hand. You can take a current struggling survey or apply your ResearchGame design to a completely new survey. Remember, you can play 20 for 20 alone, in a team or why not make it a competition with opposing teams for extra fun? If you decide to play in a team or teams, make an effort to record the session and get as many people involved as possible!


1) You’re allowed a maximum of 20 minutes to design a ResearchGame. Don’t forget to set a timer on to help keep you to time. 20 minutes is also easily found in the working day, even if you take this out of your lunch-break.
2) If you’re playing in a team, you have to give your team a name. This should be the FIRST THING YOU DO when your timer starts. This will help you get the creative juices flowing, start to feel playful and start socialing with your team if you have one and understanding the group dynamics before more serious decisions are made.
3) While gamifying your research, you have to keep in mind that the maximum length of the ResearchGame you design should be 20 minutes (hence the title 20 for 20: 20 minutes to design a 20 minute ResearchGame). This will 1) aid in keeping the attention of your respondents 2) will help you eliminate any questions that aren’t relevant or important to the study and 3) will also let you see how, creatively, you can put perhaps 5 or 10 questions together in one interesting format for the respondent, as opposed to spread across as many pages.
4) Teams are not allowed to peek at each other’s storyboards/brainstorms!
5) The winner in the team, or the winning team should be decided by a vote of hands. The team with the most votes wins.


1) Your goal is to create an engaging ResearchGame which implements, at the least, basic game-mechanics and adheres to th R.A.C.A.B. mnumonic (above).
2) To win against your opposing team(s)! If playing alone, see point a)


1) You should go over your storyboard/ideas objectively when playing alone and go through the pros and cons of your ideas by writing a list. In a team (or teams) everyone playing should discuss and list the pros and cons of the winning gamified survey idea.
2) When creating a list of the pros and cons for the winning gamified survey, think about how to eliminate those cons. If one of the cons is that you think the idea will cost money for instance, weigh this up against money you could potentially lose (or have already lost) through drop-outs and boredom.
3) If drop-outs aren’t applicable to your study, think about less expensive alternatives to your ideas. For instance, if your idea is to create Avatars of various personality types as part of your game, think about doing away with the graphics and making a note of those personalities in text. (Images aren’t everything!)

Rewards and recognition for winning:

1) If you’re playing in a team against another team or teams, there should be a genuine reward and recognition for the effort made by the winning team. Whether the reward might be tweeting about the winning team, or writing a glowing review on the team members’ Linked In profiles, there should be a useful reward to make the winner(s) proud.
2) If you’re playing alone, assign your own reward! If after 20 minutes you feel like you’ve done a really good job gamifying your survey, assign yourself a reward AT THE START of the game – and stick to that reward, even if it’s treating yourself to a fancy lunch.
3) I hope that you do play, dear reader. And I hope that when you play you smile proudly (as all my delegates do) at having produced something which is miles better than the survey you had to begin with (and is now genuinely fun for the respondent to complete).

Play this game with Twitter!: I’d like anyone who plays ‘20 for 20’ to tweet about their game using the #20for20 hashtag! Post up your ideas, thoughts or photos of your brainstorming session using #20for20. For non-Twitter users post thoughts/photos of your gamified surveys below or on the RTG Facebook profile page.

Happy playing!


Play Rezzzpondents online:

Rezzzpondents a tongue-in-cheek game which shows players what Research Through Gaming is all about, as well as a ‘subtle’ commentary on many traditional research means:

Check out our ResearchGame trailer for one of our recent projects here: