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Dialectic Vitalogue Game Release

Last fall the BGNlab collaborated with Dialectic hosting a game jam to generate game ideas about advanced healthcare planning. Dialectic documented the process with this excellent video. 

Dialectic - The Making of Vitalogue from Dialectic on Vimeo.

Two students from the Game design & Development program worked on the final game which lauched today and here is the press release. 

June 20, 2018—A new educational resource is now available to help health-care professionals encourage and support important conversations about advance care planning between patients and their families.


Vitalogue: A game about Advance Care Planning is a scenario-based e-learning game, created through a collaboration involving St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph, Conversations Worth Having Waterloo Wellington, Hospice of Waterloo Region, Hospice Wellington, and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHAWW). Vitalogue was created by Dialectic, a Guelph-based e-learning solutions provider, and leverages insights from the Game Design and Development Program at Wilfrid Laurier University.


“Advance care planning is the process of determining your future healthcare wishes and identifying a substitute decision maker to speak on your behalf in the event that you should ever be unable to make decisions about your own healthcare,” said Audrey Devitt, Waterloo Wellington Geriatric System Coordinator, CMHAWW. “Vitalogue will equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge, confidence and practical skills to encourage and support advanced care planning conversations between patients and their substitute decision makers and loved ones, which is important to alleviate stress among families.”


Vitalogue features an interactive story presented in a scrolling, comic-book style choose-your-own-adventure game, where people navigate key concepts of advance care planning, substitute decision making, capacity and consent, and difficult conversations. Each decision made along the way is weighted with a score, and, in the end, people discover whether their choices led to a good outcome for the main character, Yarsdel Nordstom.


“Because healthcare decision-making relies heavily on applying abstract concepts and principles to novel situations, a scenario-based experience was a clear design choice. We wanted healthcare professionals to practice the skills in real-world contexts, not merely learn more information in a way that was divorced from its application,” said Aaron Barth, President of Dialectic.  


The Vitalogue e-learning initiative is an outcome of the three-year Advance Care Planning project “Conversations Worth Having,” focused on educating healthcare professionals and residents; ensuring legislative compliance across healthcare settings; and improving support for caregivers.


Play Vitalogue: A game about Advance Care Planning

See The Making of Vitalogue (video)


About St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph

St. Joseph's Health Centre Guelph has been serving the Guelph and Wellington community since the day it first opened its doors as a refuge for the sick, the injured, the frail, and the indigent in 1861. Today, it is Guelph's leading, fully-accredited, not-for-profit provider of resident long-term care, complex continuing care, and rehabilitation services. The Health Centre also offers excellent community outreach services for people who live in their own homes but need a little assistance in their day-to-day lives. In addition, St. Joseph's out-patient clinics offer a range of services in the areas of geriatrics, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech/language pathology, rheumatology, and bone densitometry.


About Dialectic

Dialectic creates immersive e-learning, organizational change and customer engagement experiences - powered by science and smart multimedia design - to solve problems and elevate performance. We illuminate core challenges and design an ideal solution, based on our expertise in behavioural science, psychology, education and creative design arts, to change thinking and elevate outcomes.


About Conversations Worth Having Waterloo Wellington

In 2015, Hospice Waterloo Region partnered with Hospice Wellington to launch a three-year project focused on Advance Care Planning and Health Care Consent. With three dedicated staff and funding from the Ministry of Health, the project reached out to community and health care settings as critical sites for engagement and education. The staff engaged individuals and groups across the community and health care sectors to raise awareness, build correct understanding and encourage Advance Care Planning conversations. The project funding came to a close in April 2018 but both Hospice Waterloo Region and Hospice Wellington continue to coordinate community education and provide resources across Waterloo Wellington.


For more information please contact:


Audrey Devitt

Waterloo Wellington Geriatric System Coordinator

Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington



Aaron Barth








Live chat with Amanda Warner  

Join us Monday, April 2 from 11 am to noon for a live chat with learning designer Amanda Warner, designer of the games Fake It to Make It, about how misinformation is created, spread and targeted, and Posto Facto, in which players become news fact-checkers. She is also the creator of a wide range of online courses, including a six-module course about how to diagnose, treat and prevent childhood tuberculosis created with The Union in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

 Warner will be taking your questions about game design live on Monday. You can also tweet us your questions ahead of time using #AWInterview. Be sure to sign up below for a reminder when the live chat is about to begin!


Game of the Year Fair - April 6th

It's time for our annual Game of the Year Fair!  

On Friday, April 6th, from 6-8pm, we will be showcasing our best student-created games.  Throughout the year, students have been creating games, and we have selected the best ones.  Come see a room full of board, card, and digital games designed to change the world!    You can drop by at any point, and we will be announcing the winners of the Game of the Year awards at 7:45.

Open to the public.    Here is information for visiting the BGNlab:


April GameTalk - Dr. Emily Flynn-Jones

Game Talk:  Thursday, April 5th, from 7-9pm in the BGNlab in Brantford.  Open to the public.  

For our last GameTalk of the academic year, we welcome our post-doc, Dr. Emily Flynn-Jones. This GameTalk is an opportunity to meet her and learn about why she makes games and why she makes them with us. 

You will learn why she feels partly responsible for the 80s industry crash but isn't particularly sorry about about it, why she moved from television to games even though she stood on a mountain with Tom Hardy and worked in the Tardis, that 90s Nickelodeon shaped her game design philosophy, that she is a feminist and makes games that are political and personal and is dedicated to exploring subjects unspoken, and that game design is a form of catharsis for her. Cats might also come up.

Overall, this will be a talk about how who we are, how we have lived and what we love can inform our art. 

A content warning:

This talk makes frank reference to the speaker's experiences with anxiety, depression, mania, agoraphobia and death. While this sounds dark, these are crucial to why Flynn-Jones makes what she makes and she also has a healthy and appropriate sense of humour about her mental health so it won't all be grim. As the late great Carrie Fisher said: "If my life wasn't funny then it would just be true and that is unacceptable."

Here is information about visiting the BGNlab:


Play Against Hate - TONIGHT

Tonight the BGNlab will be hosting a thematic play session in protest of the Faith Goldy talk taking place on the Waterloo campus this evening. You can find out more about the speaker, this talk and why we oppose it in Steve Wilcox’s open letter to the university and his radio discussion. Our program is dedicated to making games with real world outcomes and often this is about addressing social issues. Tonight you are invited to come and play games against hate, ignorance and injustice as a way of responding to the intolerant opinions represented by Goldy in our own terms. 


Time: 7:15pm - 9:15pm (coinciding with the talk) 

Location: BGNlab 


The playlist is a WIP but will include: 

Titles from the Anti-fascist Game Jam    

Lost Wage Rampage 

Papers, Please

Hair Nah!

Easy Level Life 

So You’ve Been Called Out 

Parable of the Polygons

Syrian Journey

Freedom: The Underground Railroad 

We can even mod boardgames in the lab… 


You can play along at home using the hashtags #playagainsthate and #Laurier (the latter totally optional)  

Hope to play against hate with you later!