Code 4

Created by: Hubbub

Code 4 is a pervasive game for organizational change commissioned by the Dutch Tax Administration. It is a team based trading game set in a dystopia where a collapse of the financial system has caused a nationwide liquidity crisis. Players are tasked to keep the economy running by acquiring resources and fulfilling demand in a virtual marketplace. The background story details the readjustment after the crisis and contains an internal power struggle as the bureaucracy and its leadership shift to adjust to the new order. Players need to organize themselves, deal with corporate politics, and reconsider their own values to successfully play the game.

The Tax Administration had a goal to improve the organization along 11 personal development axes: Trust, Goal Focusedness, Prioritization, Customer Service, Visibility, Leadership, Initiative, Flexibility, Preemption, Judgement and Intrinsic Motivation. Demovides was tasked to create a solution consisting of a pervasive game, to achieve this goal. Demovides collaborated with Hubbub who were responsible for design and production together with Marinka Copier (Utrecht School of the Arts) for metadesign and quality assurance.

Code 4 employs a custom web application to deliver story and gameplay. In addition, players interact with a number of game characters via email and in person (with characters being played by actors).

Motivatie: Code 4 deserves a Dutch Game Award because it is a prime example of how a pervasive game can shake up an organization in ways that traditional change methods cannot. The game's creators have employed various means in a well-integrated manner to create a 360-degree play experience in which players can freely experiment with new ways of working. Player immersion significantly exceeded client expectations. In addition, contrary to many 'serious games', Code 4 includes a coaching layer in which players are supported in their reflection on game experiences, and translating those experiences to their day-to-day work activities. Based on observations from this coaching layer, we conclude that 80% of the players received an actual learning experience. In addition, 30% of the players reached the level of ‘double- loop learning’. A lot of players are able to transfer their learning experience to an ‘out-of-game cultural change’. Finally, Code 4 represents an innovation in pervasive gaming in that it is not a one-off, but can be run repeatedly, at the client’s discretion, without requiring support from the game’s creators. It is, effectively, a pervasive game “in a box”.

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