Collecting Scientific Data

Game designers can gamify the collection of data such as gas levels, electrical consumption, and water quality. 


Ghost Hunters is a 2014 game for children in which players move ghosts around a house on a board game. How the ghosts behave and how dangerous they are is determined by actual passive energy usage (ghost electricity) by appliances in the players’ house, which is measured with a mobile device.


  • Players learn from direct interaction with the scientific process while contributing to larger, valuable data sets.
  • The collection of scientific data is a powerful crowdsourcing approach. 
  • Individuals collecting data gain first hand knowledge of changes in their environment and can experiment playfully with real world systems, an important tool for building systems knowledge applicable for every day contexts.
  • Outdoor or nature-based collection can encourage a connection to nature.


  • Data collected should ideally directly contribute to the player’s in-game progression, else it may impact their interest and willingness to continue usage and/or play. 
  • Try to ensure your design intent can be achieved even if players do not have the ability to purchase or access the integrated measuring devices.
  • Avoid making the use of measuring devices a hard requirement, as this may otherwise make your game cost prohibitive.

From the Environmental Game Design Playbook
– by IGDA Climate SIG