Shock tactics in the form of controversial messages are used in advertising to solicit viewer attention and as a persuasive tactic. Persuasive games are becoming increasingly popular, however the use of shock tactics in games have not been explored in much detail. This paper discusses how three Molleindustria games use potentially controversial mechanics and messages for persuasion. In a user study, we explored how the perceived controversy of these games influenced their efficacy. Overall, the results show that perceived controversy correlates significantly with the percentage of their study compensation participants were willing to donate. The findings point towards shock tactics as a potential tool for the design and evaluation of persuasive games.
Rogers, K., & Weber, M. (2018). Shock tactics: Perceived controversy in molleindustria persuasive games. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 10809 LNCS, pp. 193–199). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-78978-1_16