Gaming the Gap: A Small World Simulation of Human Migration Response to Stressors

Stoll Jennifer Malave Ian Campbell Matt White Devin
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Significant societal disruptions are anticipated from mass human migration due to environmental factors, e.g., climate change. Understanding human behavioral responses to these disruptions are critical for informed policy decisions. However this is hindered by a significant data gap. Black et al. defines this gap as the difference between agency (the ability of migrants to self-report) and inference (from quantitative population data). While the general dynamics of human migration are known, the particulars remain elusive. To help address this gap, we have developed an online game called Island World, which is devised as a small world simulation. Our contribution is a design exploration of a game for the purpose of illuminating our understanding of human migration.