A serious game to inform young citizens on canal water maintenance

Yoeri Appel, Yordan Dimitrov, Sjoerd Gnodde, Natasja van Heerden, Pieter Kools, Daniël Swaab, Nestor Z. Salamon, J. Timothy Balint, Rafael Bidarra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


In order to support the creation of sustainable and healthy ecosystems, citizens should have knowledge of the necessary maintenance needed. For example, they should be aware of the challenges of maintaining proper urban surface waters, so that they can take on a responsible and proactive role. Ideally, citizens should acquire this knowledge from an early age. We describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of the serious game Hydro Hero, aimed at forming and reinforcing this awareness and reasoning. Hydro Hero is an infinite runner game with extended minigames, which show both what should not be on the canals as well as why they should be removed. We assessed the ability of Hydro Hero to teach young children about canal maintenance by combining a questionnaire with open-ended play-testing sessions at a science museum. On average, players were able to improve their ability to justify why certain items should be removed or left in a canal. It has not been fully confirmed that Hydro Hero conveyed this specific knowledge, due to the absence of quizzing beforehand. However, given the high participants’ engagement, we consider the game to have contributed to their awareness about the importance of canal cleaning for a sustainable urban environment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGames and Learning Alliance- 8th International Conference, GALA 2019, Proceedings
EditorsAntonios Liapis, Georgios N. Yannakakis, Manuel Gentile, Manuel Ninaus
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-34350-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-34349-1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event8th International Conference on Games and Learning Alliance, GALA 2019 - Athens, Greece
Duration: 27 Nov 201929 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference8th International Conference on Games and Learning Alliance, GALA 2019


  • Behavior change
  • Educational games
  • Urban water

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