When most people think about the aftermath of a natural disaster, they might imagine a situation similar to “The Walking Dead”. They think of an environment where survivors have an “every man for himself” attitude. However, this is not what actually happens. Decades of research show that in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the majority of people help each other, come together, and experience positive community.

The misconception about how people respond in times of crisis informs how the government and other relief organizations make policy and send aid. For example, if someone was expecting a “Walking Dead” scenario, they might send police instead of food, or riot gear instead of hospital supplies. This misalignment of perception inhibits recovery and relief for those affected by these disasters.

Games can have the power to change player’s perspectives, challenge assumptions, and influence thought processes. Our research team made a transformational game that employs metaphors to change this misconception about how survivors respond to disasters. In addition to exemplifying how metaphors can be used in transformational games, our hope is that the game could positively influence people who inform policy and relief efforts.  


Amy Cook
Jessica Hammer
Geoff Kaufman