Expanding Minds and Narrowing Divides in India through Gamivism

2016-03-10T01:41:37Z (GMT) by Misha Myers


This paper was presented at the Videogame Cultures 6, Inter-disciplinary.net, Oxford University, 17-19 July 2014.

The board game Bumper Crop was designed and its social impact tested as part of
the Play to Grow project to explore what game design properties and mechanisms
are most effective in promoting change-related agendas. Bumper Crop was
designed for both physical and digital platforms, to engage young urban adults in
complexities of rural development, agricultural practices and issues facing farmers
in India. The project involved a partnership with Digital Green, a non-profit and
charitable organisation helping small and marginal farmers in both India and lowincome
African countries to share best practices with their communities through
creating and sharing videos. Combining real life content with serious play, Bumper
Crop was designed through a participatory and human-centred design approach
with field visits, dialogues and play tests with farmers working with Digital Green
in the region of Madhya Pradesh, and with young urban adults in Mumbai.
Contrary to expectations, initial evaluation results revealed that the game’s original
purpose of generating empathy for farmers was not realised amongst the available
pool of samples. Surprisingly, however, it did serve as an effective tool for peer-to-peer
learning between farmers themselves, bringing the game back to Digital
Green’s core business of creating platforms for sharing of expert knowledge.