Skip to content
BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access March 26, 2019

Benefits and challenges of serious gaming – the case of “The Maladaptation Game”

  • Therese Asplund EMAIL logo , Tina-Simone Neset , Janina Käyhkö , Lotten Wiréhn and Sirkku Juhola
From the journal Open Agriculture


The use of digital tools and interactive technologies for farming systems has increased rapidly in recent years and is likely to continue to play a significant role in meeting future challenges. Particularly games and gaming are promising new and innovative communication strategies to inform and engage public and stakeholders with scientific research. This study offers an analysis of how a research based game on climate change maladaptation can support, but also hinder players’ sense-making processes. Through the analysis of eight gaming workshops, this study identifies challenges and support for the players’ sense-making. While it concludes that conceptual thinking of game content sometimes clashes with players’ everyday experiences and practice, possibly resulting in loss of credibility, this study also concludes that gaming may function as an eye-opener to new ways of thinking. Overall, this paper suggests that the communication of (social) science and agricultural practices through serious gaming has great potential but at the same time poses challenges due to different knowledge systems and interpretive frameworks among researchers and practitioners.


Abid M., Schilling J., Scheffran J. and Zulfiqar F., Climate change vulnerability, adaptation and risk perceptions at farm level in Punjab, Pakistan, Science of the Total Environment, 2016, 547, 447-46010.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.11.125Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Asplund T., Climate Change Frames and Frame Formation – an analysis of climate change communication in the Swedish agricultural sector, PhD thesis, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, 201410.3384/diss.diva-105997Search in Google Scholar

Asplund T., Natural versus anthropogenic climate change: Swedish farmers’ joint construction of climate perceptions, Public Understanding of Science, 2016, 25, 5, 560-57510.1177/0963662514559655Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Asplund T., Communicating Climate Science: A Matter of Credibility— Swedish Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate-Change Information, The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, 2018, 10(1), 23-3810.18848/1835-7156/CGP/v10i01/23-38Search in Google Scholar

Barnett J. and O’Neill S., Maladaptation, Editorial: Global Environmental Change, 2010, 20, 211-21310.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.11.004Search in Google Scholar

Bindi M., and Olesen J.E., The responses of agriculture in Europe to climate change, Regional Environmental Change, 2011,11(1),151-15810.1007/s10113-010-0173-xSearch in Google Scholar

Bishop I.D., Landscape planning is not a game: should it be?, Landscape and Urban Planning. 2011, 100, 390-39210.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.01.003Search in Google Scholar

Burnet F., More scientists and less surrogates, Journal of Science Communication 2010, 9, 210.22323/2.09020304Search in Google Scholar

Capstick S.B. and Pidgeon N.F., Public perception of cold weather events as evidence for and against climate change, Climatic Change, 2014, 122(4), 695–70810.1007/s10584-013-1003-1Search in Google Scholar

Curtis V., Public Engagement Through the Development of Science-Based Computer Games: The Wellcome Trust’s “Gamify Your PhD” Initiative, Science Communication, 2014, 36(3), 379–38710.1177/1075547013492436Search in Google Scholar

Dewulf A., Gray B., Putnam L., Lewicki R., Aarts N., Bouwen R. and Van Woerkum C., Disentangling approaches to framing in conflict and negotiation research: A meta-paradigmatic perspective, Human Relations, 2009, 62(2), 155–19310.1177/0018726708100356Search in Google Scholar

Entman R.M., Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm, Journal of Communication, 1993, 43, 4, 51–5810.1111/j.1460-2466.1993.tb01304.xSearch in Google Scholar

Eurobarometer, Attitudes of European Citizens towards the environment, Special Eurobarometer 468, TNS opinion & social, 2017Search in Google Scholar

Fiske J., Introduction To Communication Studies, Routledge, London, 1990Search in Google Scholar

Flood S., Cradock-Henry N.A., Blackett P., Edwards P., Adaptive and interactive climate futures: systematic review of ‘serious games’ for engagement and decision-making, Environmental Research Letters, 2018, 13, 06300510.1088/1748-9326/aac1c6Search in Google Scholar

Goffman E., Frame Analysis. An essay of the organization of experience. Reprint. Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1974Search in Google Scholar

Ingram J., Mills J., Dibari C., Ferrise R., Ghaley B.B., Hansen J.G., Iglesias A., Karaczun Z., McVittie A., Merante P., and Molnar A., Communicating soil carbon science to farmers: Incorporating credibility, salience and legitimacy, Journal of Rural Studies, 2016, 48, 115-12810.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.10.005Search in Google Scholar

IPCC, AR 5 Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014Search in Google Scholar

Juhola S., Klein N., Käyhkö J., and Neset T.S.S., Climate change transformations in Nordic agriculture?,. Journal of Rural Studies, 2017, 51, 28-3610.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.01.013Search in Google Scholar

Juhola S., Glaas E., Linnér B.O., and Neset T.S.S., Redefining maladaptation, Environmental Science & Policy, 2016, 55, 135-14010.1016/j.envsci.2015.09.014Search in Google Scholar

Juhola S., Goodsite M.E., Davis M., Klein R.J.T., Davídsdóttir B., Atlason R., Landauer M., Linnér B-O., Neset T.S.S., Glaas E., Eskeland G., and Gammelgaard Ballantyne A., Adaptation decision-making in the Nordic countries: assessing the potential for joint action, Environ Syst Decis, 2014, 34, 600–61110.1007/s10669-014-9524-3Search in Google Scholar

Juhola S., Driscoll P., de Suarez J. M., and Suarez P., Social strategy games in communicating trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation in cities, Urban Climate, 2013, 4, 102-11610.1016/j.uclim.2013.04.003Search in Google Scholar

Kitzinger J., The methodology of focus groups: The importance of interaction between research participants, Sociology of Health and Illness, 1994, 16(1), 103–12110.1111/1467-9566.ep11347023Search in Google Scholar

Linell P., Transkription av tal och samtal: teori och praktik [Transcription of talk and conversation: theory and practice], report from Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, 1994Search in Google Scholar

Magnan A.K., Schipper E.L.F., Burkett M., Bharwani S., Burton I., Eriksen S., Gemenne F., Schaar J. and Ziervogel G., Addressing the risk of maladaptation to climate change, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 2016, 7(5), 646-66510.1002/wcc.409Search in Google Scholar

Marková I., Linell P., Grossen M. and Salazar Orvig A., Dialogue in focus groups: exploring socially shared knowledge, Equinox, London, 2007Search in Google Scholar

Marshall N.A., Park S., Howden S.M., Dowd A.B., and Jakku E.S., Climate change awareness is associated with enhanced adaptive capacity, Agricultural Systems, 2013, 117, 30-3410.1016/j.agsy.2013.01.003Search in Google Scholar

Mayer I.S., Carton L., de Jong M., Leijten M., and Dammers E., Gaming the future of an urban network, Futures, 2004, 36, 311-33310.1016/S0016-3287(03)00159-9Search in Google Scholar

Moser S., Communicating climate change: history, challenges, process and future directions, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 2010, 1(1), 31–5310.1002/wcc.11Search in Google Scholar

Moser S., Reflections on climate change communication research and practice in the second decade of the 21st century: what more is there to say?, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 2016, 7, 345-36910.1002/wcc.403Search in Google Scholar

Neset T.S.S., Asplund T., Käyhkö J., and Juhola S. Making sense of Maladaptation: Nordic Agriculture stakeholders’ perspectives Climatic Change, 2019 (Published online) in Google Scholar

Neset T.S.S., Wiréhn L., Klein N., Käyhkö J., and Juhola S. Maladaptation in Nordic Agriculture, Climate Risk Management, 2018 (In press) in Google Scholar

Ouariachi T., Olvera-Lobo M.D., and Gutiérrez-Pérez J., Analyzing Climate Change Communication Through Online Games: Development and Application of Validated Criteria, Science Communication, 2017, 39(1), 10-4410.1177/1075547016687998Search in Google Scholar

Patt A.G., Peterson N., Carter M., Velez M., Hess U. and Suarez, P., Making index insurance attractive to farmers, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 2009, 14, 737-75710.1007/s11027-009-9196-3Search in Google Scholar

Poplin A., Playful public participation in urban planning: a case study for online serious games, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 2012, 36, 195-20610.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2011.10.003Search in Google Scholar

Reckien D. and Eisenack K., Climate change gaming on board and screen: A review, Simulation & Gaming, 2013, 44(2-3), 253-27110.1177/1046878113480867Search in Google Scholar

Rötter R.P., Höhn J.G. and Fronzek S., Projections of climate change impacts on crop production: a global and a Nordic perspective, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A–Animal Science, 2012, 62(4),166-18010.1080/09064702.2013.793735Search in Google Scholar

Snow D.A. and Benford R.D., Ideology, frame resonance, and participant mobilization, International Social Movement Research, 1988, 1, 197–218Search in Google Scholar

Washington Ottombre C., Pijanowski B., Campbell D., Olson J., Maitima J., Musili A., Kibaki T., Kaburu H., Hayombe P., Owango E., Irigia B., Gichere S., and Mwangi A., Using a role-playing game to inform the development of land use models for the study of a complex socio-ecological system, Agricultural systems, 2010, 103, 117-12610.1016/j.agsy.2009.10.002Search in Google Scholar

Wibeck V., Fokusgrupper: om fokuserade gruppintervjuer som undersökningsmetod [Focus Groups. On focused group interviews as research method], Sweden, Studentlitteratur, 2010Search in Google Scholar

Wibeck V., Enhancing learning, communication and public engagement about climate change – some lessons from recent literature, Environmental Education Research, 2014, 20(3), 387-41110.1080/13504622.2013.812720Search in Google Scholar

Wiréhn L., Nordic agriculture under climate change: A systematic review of challenges, opportunities and adaptation strategies for crop production, Land Use Policy, 2018, 77, 63-7410.1016/j.landusepol.2018.04.059Search in Google Scholar

Wärneryd O., Games for urban and regional planning: a pedagogical tool, Technological forecasting and social change, 1975, 7, 397-41210.1016/0040-1625(75)90016-5Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2018-06-24
Accepted: 2019-01-17
Published Online: 2019-03-26

© 2018 Therese Asplund et al., by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

Downloaded on 27.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button