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Playing with politics – game designed to help voter engagement

4 May 2015

Andrew Reid - Civic City 1 ‌ 

Video games can help young people engage with political issues, according to one final year student taking part in the Abertay Digital Graduate Show from next Friday (8 May).

Andrew Reid has created Civic City, an interactive game which engages the player with the personal side of political issues, for his Game Design & Production Management degree.

In the game, topics such as education and policing are explored from the point of view of different characters – with players asked to make decisions about how improvements can be made, picking between real policies on offer from UK political parties.

Data from a player’s responses are then gathered which could be used to inform policy making. Crucially, however, every player is engaged in making important decisions – demonstrating how important political engagement is to solving real-life problems.

Speaking about the project’s inspirations, Andrew said: “I was a member of the Abertay Students' Association during the Scottish independence referendum, and it was exciting to see so many young people engaged in political culture and turning out to vote.

“However, there is a real problem engaging young people in most elections, with voter turnout among 18 to 24-year-olds particularly low at general elections for the past two decades.

“Because of this, I wanted to investigate the potential of using video game technologies to harness public engagement in a political context.

“My project looks to generate user data from people who may not engage with politics through traditional means, and this data can be used for educational and political institutions to inform policy-making at a national level.”

Andrew Reid - Civic City 2

He added: “Video games reflect, and cause reflection of, society and social issues. I think more can be done to promote discussion on social topics in British society, and video games offer an environment to interact not just with the issues, but with others in a collaborative space.

“I think the use of social media during the Scottish independence referendum proved the importance of technology to politics. The buzz of the debate would not have been the same without Facebook and Twitter.

“I fear that if the political landscape doesn't adapt to these technologies, then we develop more apathetic voters, and our democratic structure weakens further.”

Andrew is one of 170 students showing their final year projects in Abertay University’s main Kydd Building and the Hannah Maclure Centre art gallery, on the top floor of the Student Centre.

The opening times of the Abertay Digital Graduate Show are:

  • Friday 8 May, 4-8pm
  • Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 May, 12-4pm
  • Monday 11 May, 9am-12pm

Coming along to the Abertay Digital Graduate Show? Join the Facebook event and share it with your friends.


For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Manager) – T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E:


The Abertay Digital Graduate Show is part of the Ignite Dundee festival, which runs from 8-31 May and showcases the very best of Dundee’s creative talent.

Ignite Dundee is a partnership between Abertay University; Dundee & Angus College; Dundee Contemporary Arts; Dundee – One City, Many Discoveries; Dundee Rep Theatre; Leisure & Culture Dundee; University of Dundee and V&A Dundee.

For more information, please visit the Ignite Dundee website.

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