PIXEL: Challenges and lessons learned in designing a board game both for market and high-school Education
14:30 - 14:45
Co-authors: Rachele Toniolo, Silvia Casu, Valentina La Parola, Riccardo Leoni, Giovanni Contino, Stefania Varano, Alessandra Zanazzi, Andrea Ligabue, Sara Ricciardi
PIXEL - Picture (of) the Universe is a board game developed by INAF - Italian National Institute for Astrophysics in collaboration with GAME Science Research Center. The game simulates the research environment in Astrophysics, with particular emphasis on the observation and study of cosmic bodies at different resolutions. Image resolution is a crucial element in astrophysics, but the intrinsic complexity and challenges of making high-resolution images of the distant Universe are not easily and generally perceivable. For this reason, we envisioned PIXEL. Theme and mechanics in PIXEL recreate the environment of research in Astrophysicsand its relations: players have to make decisions autonomously and in collaboration with others, as happens in actual research. They have to manage the observation time and resolution to choose whether to study small details at high resolution or the entire body at low resolution. As in actual research, moreover, research results are shared with the community of the other players in the game and publications help obtain more winning points at the end. In this contribution, we discuss the co-design process of the game in collaboration with different professionals, such as astrophysicists, game developers, illustrators, and linguists. Furthermore, we also present our preliminary analysis of the public response we collected at several public events and game-based learning activities with high school students.