Empowering vulnerable target groups with serious games and gamification

L. M. van der Lubbe*, C. Gerritsen, M. C.A. Klein, K. V. Hindriks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Serious games and gamification is a popular and growing field, commercially and for academic research. This paper aims to give an overview of a specific domain within the field of serious gaming and gamification; the field of serious games and gamification to empower vulnerable target groups. This overview contributes to a better understanding of this field, by identifying different vulnerable groups and empowerment methods with their own characteristics. From this overview a gap in the existing research can be identified: complex, more indirect, vulnerabilities are not covered in existing research. Moreover, opportunities lie in creating more standardized ways of describing games, enhancing the generalizability of the research. To introduce what distinguishes this specific sub field of serious games and gamification research from other fields, an overview which distinguishes games based on their objective. With the use of a structured literature review, this field is further studied. Next, the identified empowerment methods are studied in more detail, describing the technology, game mechanics and study results found in the literature research. The results of the found studies are often positive, but the generalizability of the results is often limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100402
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalEntertainment Computing
Early online date5 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Empowerment
  • Gamification
  • Review
  • Serious games
  • Vulnerable target groups


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