Irina Paraschivoiu and Robert Praxmacher from Escape Fake
But how does it work exactly? The EscapeFake team presents their road to impact, giving out some advice to anyone interested in designing educational digital experiences.
Many people ask us how we went about designing Escape Fake as an AR game but also as a good learning experience. We can definitely say it’s not an easy task and we iterate many times in our design and development process, not just on the content, but also on improving the user experience and how people interact with the game. Here are a couple of thoughts for all those who want to design interactive AR content for educational or societal purposes. Brace yourselves!
Of course, it’s great to learn about fake news just by itself, but we find that a story always gives players motivation and a sense of meaning for solving the game. There are many ways to do that, for example by making clear what the purpose is. In EscapeFake, we set the purpose of "fixing the truth," which means changing the timeline to avoid a dystopian future. Any sci-fi fans among you? That’s where this is heading. Also, it helps a lot to be able to relate to the characters, so in EscapeFake you get quite a lot of help from Hannah Lee May, your friend with whom you interact via chat. She is a central part of the story.
Young people playing EscapeFake during Europe Day in Salzburg, Austria
It’s always hard in educational games to figure out exactly how difficult they should be. If the game is too hard or if there is too much content to process, then the people playing it will not be immersed in it or having a good time. Too much effort to figure things out is always bad for the player and for the designer. Note though that it really depends who you think will play the game. For EscapeFake, we knew we wanted to work with young people and they are actually much better (and intuitive) with games and also augmented reality. Some other target group might be more comfortable with more difficult topics (content-wise) but might struggle more with the AR interaction if they’re not used to these kinds of experiences.
That’s where we think things are heading, at least in the medium term. Of course, there are some technological improvements needed before people would play such games at home. We actually did ask the players of Escape Fake if they would, and many who enjoyed the game said they could imagine downloading and playing the game at home, outside of school or event settings. There are still some things to work on, not just in our game, but in AR in general. Once augmented reality glasses are more widespread, then we won’t be looking through our mobile phones and the interaction with the game will be much more natural.
That’s it! Enjoy the game and tell us what you thought of it! You can always write to us or follow our Facebook page.