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November 22, 2017

Help me decide who I should dress up as AFTER Halloween


[Title image courtesy of New Mexico State University’s Learning Game Lab – ]

Just when you thought Halloween was over, and you could free your mind from trying to come up with good costume ideas, I’m now asking for help in the same area.

As many of you may know, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in an effort to create a good “Cyber Security Awareness Game”. I’ve done research on the Web and bounced ideas of a number of colleagues. But I’m still struggling with one decision that must be made before I can actually create something interesting. It involves coming up with a character persona for a situation that will lend itself to a good background story, or overarching narrative for a game about security and privacy awareness.

Even before coming up with a name for the game, I need a situation on which to build the story

I’ve decided that the key to getting people interested in playing a game is to start by putting them into a situation that is a little unexpected, yet familiar, or at least relatable. To help you understand what I mean by this, I thought it might be helpful to show you something I discovered that inspired me to make this a priority.

While doing research about game-based learning on the Web, I found a game that was created by a lab run by Barbara Chamberlin at New Mexico State University. The game is called Treadsylvania, and it’s designed to teach teenagers in rural communities about ATV safety. The setting is in a town that’s been taken over by a vampire, and you, as a player, must help find and defeat the vampire and his minions. For the story behind this cool game, there’s a good YouTube video here, and you can actually play the game (it takes about 20 minutes or so to play).

The genius of this game is that it puts people in a situation in which they first need to explore to find out about the situation. Once they start exploring, they find items and learn about how they can be used in the future.

But this game does an amazing job of finding a scenario that will interest the target audience. So, I would like to get creative in thinking about scenarios and roles in which to put players in games that teach practical security and privacy principles.

What kinds of scenarios and personas would be most engaging for employees in a cyber security and privacy game?

So, I’ve been mulling over ideas about what situations might grab the attention of people who would play my game. Should it be something totally fantastic, like putting them in a “spy thriller” scenario, or should it simply be made-up situation that sees an employee transferred into a new department to backfill after a major privacy breach and mass firings (I’m thinking Equifax)?

So, I could explore my own ideas. But maybe you have some better ideas on the player personas and situations that would make a security and privacy awareness game more engaging for employees of your organization. I plan to make my games flexible, so we should be able to have many different personas and contexts, which will make it useful for a variety of training topics, industries and functional areas.

I would love to hear from you on any suggestions you might have that could help in creating this kind of game. Maybe you know some good tools that would be helpful; maybe you know people who could help; or maybe you’d even like to get involved, and brainstorm or collaborate with me on an ongoing basis.

If anything comes to mind, please send me an email, and let me know what you’d like me to turn you into for this game…

Security Tips…


I’d encourage you to seek out cyber security news stories, or read about the ones that make the headlines while you’re browsing. Then, ask yourself how this story could affect you, your family or your team. If you aren’t sure, please forward it to me, and I’ll do my best to put it in context for you.

Employees and Managers:

Keep looking for innovative ways to engage and educate your staff. Whether it’s games, posters or email bulletins, anything that reminds them to be vigilant and make good risk decisions will help your team in working more securely.

In the meantime, if you would like to explore how Game-Based Learning can help your team, please let me know.
Scott Wright
The Streetwise Security Coach

Security Perspectives Inc.
Phone: 613-693-0997

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