Join a Research Study about Nature in Games!

  • Do you enjoy playing video games?
  • Do you have thoughts, feelings or ideas about nature in games?
  • Got time for a research session (1 1/2 hours, video call) in August, September or October 2022?
  • Get 15€ (~£13/~16US$ …) worth of games from the Humble Bundle store?

I’m interested!


Hi, I’m Velvet Spors, a post-doctoral researcher at the Gamification Group at Tampere University.

I am currently researching what we can learn from nature in games for the design of nature-centric technology in real-life. After all, games connect us, make us cry or laugh (or both at the same time!). They also allow us an open, safe space to explore feelings and make sense of ourselves.

I am looking to talk to people who enjoy playing games to explore what nature in games means for them: lush meadows, dense forests, vast deserts, or deep, mysterious oceans?


Could you give me a short overview of the project? Sure thing! This project is investigating how people make sense of nature in games: What is meaningful to people? What is not? Which aspects make nature in games interesting or bothersome? How is nature being perceived in games? To do so, I am looking for people to talk to, and show us a nature experience in a game, to make sense of it together. Based on these calls, interviews, and knowledge bits, I hope to figure out some branches for other folks to build upon – researchers, game designers and players alike, both in actual nature and in virtual spaces. This project is a research study being conducted by a researcher based in Tampere University, Finland.
Who can take part?
  • This study is open worldwide.
  • You are 18+ years old.
  • You speak English and/or German.
  • You have an interest in games (playing, making, watching them etc.).
  • You have thought about nature in games before, e.g., noticing the level design, reflecting on greenery in a game, or reacting to it.
  • You are currently not in a severe mental health crisis. You have access to stable internet (that can support video calling), and a webcam.
  • (These criteria are not in place to exclude anybody, but to keep everyone involved safe.)
Will the tech in the video call be safe, inclusive & accessible? I will do my very best to ensure this!
  • We will use MURAL to capture and organise your thoughts. MURAL is a collaborative whiteboarding service. Think Google Slides or PowerPoint online, just a bit fancier. MURAL will be used for brainstorming and working together.
  • We will use Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Discord to video call each other. For more info regarding safety, privacy and how the research handles data, please check the project’s Privacy Notice. If you have any more questions, or something is unclear, please drop me a line (!
What do I get for taking part?
  • Supporting science! You help to create new knowledge regarding games and their connection to nature.
  • Game(s)! You get to pick one or more games from the Humble Bundle store (up to 15 Euros, or the equivalent in a currency of your choice).
Are there any risks for taking part? As with all research, there are a couple of risks involved:
  • People who know you well might identify you based on publications from this project, e.g., through quotes.
  • The setting of the research might lead to unpleasant experiences (e.g., talking aloud while playing might feel awkward).
  • Since the video call will be recorded, the resulting data might get accessed and/or stolen by malicious third parties that are beyond our control (examples: computers get stolen, the university server gets hacked). Tampere University has firm security and privacy policies in place to minimise this risk.
I have never used MURAL / a collaborative online space before. No worries! If you decide to take part, you will be sent an introduction and videos that explain how everything works and how to interact with the space. All you need is a fairly stable internet connection and an up-to-date web browser (e.g., Firefox, Google Chrome ...).
I don’t think I could bring anything new to the video call. I hear you 100%! The calls are not necessarily about making or creating anything new: They are more about what games mean to you personally, and what nature and the environments means within (game)play. By collecting a number of different people’s experiences, I am hoping to make (some) sense of the space, so that other researchers, designers and game developers can hopefully use it as inspiration.
I don’t want to take part, but can I still support this project? Thank you so much! If this project resonates with you, please share it in your personal networks, tweet about it and tell others about it! I am forever grateful!

Project Overview

What? Join two remote video calls with the main researcher. Talk about games and nature. Show them nature in a game of your choosing.

Who can take part? Open internationally, to anybody with an interest in games and nature and a stable internet connection (and a webcam).

Organiser? Velvet Spors, a researcher based in the Gamification Group, at Tampere University, Finland.

What’s the time commitment? 1h30, divided between two remote video calls with the main researcher (20mins + 1h10).

When? Up to you! Sometime between 1st August and 31st October 2022.

Reimbursement? 15 Euros (~£13/~16US$ …) worth of games from the Humble Bundle store.

Research Team

Hey, hi! I’m Velvet Spors. I’m a post-doctoral researcher at the Gamification Group, based in Tampere University, in beautiful and cold Finland.

Through my research, I am trying to figure out how gameful technology can support people to make meaning in, with and through nature – through encountering it and engaging with it from a number of different angles, in real-life. My research is part of and supported by the UNITE flagship, by the Academy of Finland.

Speaking more broadly, my research centres around care and technology in future-oriented ways: How do we want to live, and what part will technology play in our many possible futures? How can we take care of ourselves and others?

If you want to learn more about my work, here is my Google Scholar, a researcher profile, and two video presentations (one, two) of papers I wrote based on my PhD.

Please feel free to reach out to me! You can find me on twitter @niceotherwise, or email me (

Funding Sources

This research will be conducted as part of employment with Tampere University, as a research study by the Gamification Group, run by Professor Juho Hamari. This research is funded by the Academy of Finland Flagship Programme (337653—Forest-Human-Machine Interplay (UNITE).


Background images were generated with craiyon. Design and development by @niceotherwise.