2018 habe ich mein Masterstudium am Cologne Game Lab im Studiengang “Game Development & Research” mit einer Thesis über die Nutzung digitaler Spiele im Kontext sexueller Aufklärung mit Auszeichnung abgeschlossen. Die Arbeit bestand aus einem Konzept für ein solches Aufklärungsspiel und einem umfangreichen theoretischen Teil, in dem ich den aktuellen Forschungsstand zusammengefasst und um Analysen thematisch relevanter Spiele erweitert habe.
“Sexual and reproductive health is an important part of young peoples’ general well-being, and access to information on how to make responsible health-related choices is considered to be a human right. Nevertheless, evidence-based sexuality education is not or only insufficiently made available in most countries around the world, due to cultural or political opposition, inadequate funding, and/or poor infrastructure. Experts argue that freely available digital media and online services could close some of these educational gaps, and more recently, digital (online) games in particular have developed into a topic of interest, as the medium is not only popular among young people, but it also entails a unique potential to actively and continuously engage players in educational content. This thesis includes the first known comprehensive list of digital sexuality education games as well as a thorough analysis of their educational content, game mechanics, audio and visual presentation. Additionally, seven main characteristics of digital games that support knowledge retention and behavioural change are identified, described in detail, and used to examine the games’ potential to engage players, arouse their curiosity, and facilitate sustainable learning effects. Furthermore, sexual health content in selected entertainment games is examined in detail. The results show that game-based interventions have yet to play a noteworthy role in sexuality education: Few such games have been released so far, and most fail to fully exploit the medium’s beneficial characteristics. Although preliminary research strongly suggests that employing carefully designed game-based interventions for educational purposes may yield positive results, both health experts and game developers are still reluctant to use the medium for educating young people about sexual health, and research on this topic is scarce. Only recently, a trend towards more frequent development and evaluation of sexuality education games has become apparent, as well as a noticeable increase in production value, which is likely linked to the availability of more affordable and user-friendly tools. Additionally, the topic of sexual health has become more prominent in entertainment games, some of which may provide valuable inspiration for future educational projects, particularly in regard to gameplay design.”
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