CHI PLAY STUDENT GAME DESIGN COMPETITION is a premium venue where students can exhibit the games that they designed for their research projects and have chance to promote the gameplay and game design dimensions of their games. In this page, you can find information about the CHI PLAY 2021 SGDC games such as their player reaction videos and executables game files if you want to try them out.

This year, CHI PLAY 2021 SGDC got 19 submissions from 11 countries. 8 of these submissions (42%) were selected as finalists to be presented at CHI PLAY 2021. Among these 8 finalists, 1 winner and 1 honorable mention were selected by the expert jury panel consisting of members from academia and industry. All members of the panel rated each game to select their favorite, and the awarded games were selected through a jury meeting where the games were discussed thoroughly.


symbol of a cup

The winner is:
Percussion Hero: A Chest Physical Therapy Game for People with Cystic Fibrosis and their Caregivers
Book Sadprasid, Ethan Eddy, Aaron Tabor, Erik Scheme, Scott Bateman
University of New Brunswick, Canada

symbol of a medal

Honorable Mention is:
Breaking the Magic Circle: Using a Persuasive Game to Build Empathy for Nursing Staff and Increase Citizen Responsibility During a Pandemic
Emma Louise Holliday
UCL Interaction Centre, University College London, UK


“Anyway,”: Two-player Defense Game via Voice Conversation

Minki Hong, YoungJun Choi, Sihun Cha

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejoen, Republic of Korea

Conversation is a key element in maintaining social relationships. In contrast to soliloquy, conversation with other people gives various social effects to both speaker and listener. Most voice communication in games had been bound to achieving games goal, thus not fully facilitates social effects. Therefore, we tried to deliver the positive effects of the conversation by gamifying turn-taking communication. With “Anyway,” we present a two-player conversational defense game that uses voice conversation as an input. This game aims to encourage wholesome in-game conversation and to expand the boundary of the game’s use of voice interaction in game. In “Anyway,” players have to proceed with their talk to protect their partner from incoming waves. Spoken words from each player are converted to tetrapod breakwaters that only protect their playmate, which leads to a cooperative game experience. We conducted a preliminary user test and observed positive responses, especially in empathy and behavioral involvement.

AXO: A Video Game That Encourages Recycling to Preteens

Yohanna Ishoj-Paris, Ariane Gravel-Villeneuve, Francis Vermette-David, Lissa Dixon-Sequeira, Maxime Dicaire, Maxime Morin Grandmont, Naomi Jomphe, Nathaelle Fournier, Ophelie Champeau-Fournier, Cassandra Paré, Lee-Anne Savoie, Emma Tremblay, Benny Le, Dany El-Riachi, Nicolás Medina, Alexandra Negru, Nathan Viens, Anton Zhelyeznyy, Yannick Francillette, François-Xavier Dupas, Pierre Tousignant, Guillaume Côté

Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Properly recycling our waste is a world-wide problem that needs to be solved to reduce our impact on the environment. The solution is in learning to properly sort our waste. The less cross-contamination there is between materials that cannot be dealt with together, the better they can be processed. In order to spread this knowledge to schools, we propose a serious game in which the teaching is a subtle and important mechanic present within an entertaining frame. Our game AXO teaches preteens how to recycle by sorting and identifying common household waste to save a chain of islands. AXO is made to be able to be adapted to recycling regulations around the globe, while presenting a visually pleasing and interesting world and offering a better alternative recycling game to teachers.

Breaking the Magic Circle: Using a Persuasive Game to Build Empathy for Nursing Staff and Increase Citizen Responsibility During a Pandemic

Emma Louise Holliday

UCL Interaction Centre, University College London, UK

Serious and persuasive games are increasingly being researched as methods to promote reflection, understanding and attitude change. In this study, a persuasive game was designed that explores themes of blame culture and impact of citizen behaviour on others during a pandemic. Notably, it breaks the “magic circle” by asking players to involve their real-world actions in gameplay. Quantitative results showed participant attitudes became more aligned to the game’s message immediately after and two days after playing the game. Qualitative feedback indicated that the technique of breaking the “magic circle” was very effective for encouraging reflection and engaging the player. The outcomes of this study suggest that this is a promising technique that should be explored in future work, particularly over a longer time frame.

Harmonionz, Rescue The Planet: A Voice Visualizing Game that Match Pitch with Color

Hajun Kim, Eunjin Choi, Byeoli Choi

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Republic of Korea

Voice input has been used interactively in games for a long time. Existing voice games showed the potential of voice input games by utilizing various features of voice such as voice volume detection, pitch and rhythm detection, speech recognition, and conversation. However, most of these conventional voice games showed that the main game characteristics depended only on the voice input. In this context, we propose Harmonionz, a game that goes beyond the limits of the existing voice input game genre. Our game has a novelty in which the voice plays a functional and story-wise core role, but the fun of the game is not limited to the voice. In our game, the player can win the game when he explores a colorful map, avoids enemies, and eventually creates a pitch required by the target with his voice. The target pitch is mapped to the color to indicate players the color of the notes that they need to make. The player must find the required pitch by looking at the color on the target. Our game is two-player game, each playing a different role. One creates the pitch and the other defeats the approaching enemies. The reason existing voice games had no choice but to rely only on voice was that using voices in the different form of games was not convincing in terms of context or logic to players. Occasionally, if there was such an attempt, it was a function that has an auxiliary role but did not have a significant impact. However, in our game, the worldview in the game, the part that interacted with the colorful map by colorizing the pitch, and all attempts to interact with the map’s background music make the act of using the voice natural in our game.

Mentis Journey

Christian Feichtinger, Elias Duda, Florian Buger, Jakob Indra, Anna Maschek, Florian Neugebauer

University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg, Austria

Menti’s Journey is a singleplayer browser game for elementary school children aged 6-10. As the main character Menti, the player gradually tries to regain their lost emotions and reveals the power associated with them. Accompanied by Super-Menti, the journey leads across several islands where one of the emotions is out of control. Through a camera-controlled emotion recognition software, the children can test their newly discovered emotion powers in mini-games and through interactions with objects in the world to finally regain all lost emotions.

Myopic Bike and Say Hi: Games for Empathizing with The Myopic

Xiang Li, Xiaohang Tang, Xin Tong, Rakesh Patibanda, Florian Floyd Mueller, Hai-Ning Liang

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China

Duke Kunshan University, China

Monash University, Australia

Myopia is an eye condition that makes it difficult for people to focus on faraway objects. It has become one of the most serious eye conditions worldwide and negatively impacts the quality of life of those who suffer from it. Although myopia is prevalent, many non-myopic people have misconceptions about it and encounter challenges empathizing those who suffer from it. In this research, we developed two virtual reality (VR) games, (1) “Myopic Bike” and (2) “Say Hi”, to provide a means for the non-myopic population to experience the difficulties of myopic people. Our two games simulate two inconvenient daily life scenarios (riding a bicycle and greeting friends on the street) that myopic people encounter when not wearing glasses. The goal is to facilitate empathy in people with non-myopia for those who suffer from myopia. We evaluated four participants’ game experiences through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Overall, our two VR games can create an engaging and non-judgmental experience for the non-myopic people that has potential to facilitate empathizing with those who suffer from myopia.

Percussion Hero: A Chest Physical Therapy Game for People with Cystic Fibrosis and their Caregivers

Book Sadprasid, Ethan Eddy, Aaron Tabor, Erik Scheme, Scott Bateman

University of New Brunswick, Canada

Chest physical therapy—including chest percussion, vibration, and postural drainage—is an important part of cystic fibrosis (CF) treatment. Chest percussion and vibration are exercises that require coordinated effort between patient and caregiver, during which the caregiver performs manual, rhythmic blows to the patient’s chest and back. When practiced regularly alongside postural drainage techniques, percussion therapy mobilizes and removes fluid buildup in the lungs, reducing inflammation and risks of infection that could lead to hospitalization. Despite the importance of chest physical therapy for those with CF, adherence is often low. Low adherence to at-home therapies is common to the treatment of many diseases, yet one distinct challenge of chest physical therapy is the caregiver intervention—a role often assumed by a family member or loved one. The caregiver role is challenging for chest therapy because it is active, focused, and strenuous. While research has proposed many solutions for increasing patient engagement during similar airway clearance exercises, the critical role of the caregiver has often been overlooked. In this paper, we present Percussion Hero, a cooperative, rhythm-based game designed to improve chest physical therapy adherence by actively targeting both patients and caregivers during therapeutic exercises.

RelicVR: A Virtual Reality Game for Active Exploration of Archaeological Relics

Yilin Liu, Yiming Lin, Rongkai Shi, Yiming Luo, Hai-Ning Liang

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China

Digitalization is changing how people visit museums and explore the artifacts they house. Museums, as important educational venues outside classrooms, need to actively explore the application of digital interactive media, including games that can balance entertainment and knowledge acquisition. In this paper, we introduce RelicVR, a virtual reality (VR) game that encourages players to discover artifacts through physical interaction in a game-based approach. Players need to unearth artifacts hidden in a clod enclosure by using available tools and physical movements. The game relies on the dynamic voxel deformation technique to allow players to chip away earth covering the artifacts. We added uncertainty in the exploration process to bring it closer to how archaeological discovery happens in real life. Players do not know the shape or features of the hidden artifact and have to take away the earth gradually but strategically without hitting the artifact itself. From playtesting sessions with eight participants, we found that the uncertainty is conducive to their engagement and exploration experience. Overall, RelicVR is an innovative game that can improve players’ learning motivation and outcomes of ancient artifacts.


Ansgar Depping is a UX Researcher at Facebook with a background in Psychology and Human Computer Interaction. In his works he focuses on the design of safe and rewarding social interactions between users. Before starting his work at Facebook he was a Game User researcher at Electronic Arts where he worked on games such as ‘FIFA 20’, ‘Anthem’, and ‘Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville’.

Jeanette Falk Olesen is a researcher at the Center for Human-Computer Interaction, University of Salzburg. She has a PhD from Aarhus University, where she explored how the format of game jams can shape design processes and creativity. In addition to her research, she has taught courses in game play design. She has formal training as a level designer from the National Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment, Copenhagen, and in her leisure time and as a researcher she has participated in and organized several game jams. Over the years, she has designed different kinds of exploratory games, where some have been exhibited in museums, libraries and game fairs. 

Florian Jindra teaches Game Design at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria. He’s an avid lover of local multiplayer, alt.ctrl as well as games with a purpose. Always searching for opportunites to make games to be more than just entertaining, you’ll find him buried under a backlog of thousands of physical as well as digital games.

Emma Varjo is the UX Lead at Frozenbyte. She champions for all players regardless of demographics, experience levels, or abilities. Through her knowledge of psychology and Human Computer Interactions as well as through research done on the game with real players, she ensures the player’s viewpoint is considered holistically throughout all stages of game development.

Erdin Kacan is a senior game developer at RobotSquid, he completed Information Systems and Technologies at Okan University and his Game Design Masters degree at University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) focused on Flow Theory. He has primarily worked on Game Design and Programming, lately focusing on Code Architecture. He has worked on projects such as Shadowgun: Legends, Save The Comet, Dead trigger and Shadowgun: Warzone. He has also worked at Ubisoft Future Games of London on unannounced titles primarily focused on Architecture and Game Systems. He is currently working on an unannounced title at RobotSquid; focusing on Multiplayer, Architecture and Game Systems.