[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 112, Issue 26

Sebastian Deterding sebastian at codingconduct.cc
Mon Mar 31 05:31:27 EST 2014

Hi Mark,

a really good point.

It chimes well with what Rilla Khaled has called (and is studying right 
now) as "reflective game design" 
http://rillakhaled.com/research/reflectivegamedesign.html, which is 
similar to stuff like Dunne & Raby's "Critical Design" 
http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/bydandr/13/0 and Carlo DiSalvo's 
"Adversarial Design" http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/adversarial-design.

Along very similar lines is Konstantin Mitgutsch's work on 
"transformative learning", "meaningful play experiences", and 
"subversive game design" (check http://www.kmitgutsch.com/Papers).

Oddly enough, I'm in the midst of a "motivational game design" seminar 
with grad students, preparing slides for Monday's topic, "design for 
meaning", and what I've taken away from my reading is that meaningful 
play experiences *can* be the one's that challenge your understanding of 
yourself and the world, that expose you to new ways of seeing and 
experiencing the world -- the "Passage"s and "Spec Ops: The Line"s and 
"Papo y Yo"s of the world. But more often than not, the meaning of a 
game is an "ordinary" game fulfilling a psychological and/or social need 
or function for a person at a specific moment in their biography -- as 
one of Konstantin's players reports, a young girl finding a stable 
anchor and social connection in playing Pokémon with her brother when 
her parents where moving around the country so often that she could not 
build any other stable social relations or daily routines. So there's 
the "designed to be meaningful" -- the challenging, subversive, 
critical, experimental, even adversarial -, but then there's the 
emergent meaning "deeply wrapped up in people's personal histories and 
cultural backgrounds and in-the-moment situated contexts" -- can you 
design for that? Should you even?


Am 3/30/14 9:50 AM, schrieb Mark Chen:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Last week we saw two huge announcements related to VR. First Sony 
> announced at GDC that they were going all-in with Project Morpheus, a 
> VR headset for the PS4. Then Facebook bought Oculus for $2b!
> I was sitting in the audience during the Sony announcement, and it was 
> pretty freaky to me how much of their pitch rhetoric was about The 
> Futuuuurrre and how all developers need to drop everything and support 
> VR games and how VR will penetrate everything, not just games. One of 
> their use cases they presented was the act of booking a hotel room 
> using some Futuuure 3D immersive world interface. They (and the 
> majority of the audience) apparently don't remember how VRML of the 
> 90s showed us how horrible and inefficient it is to navigate 
> information systems in a 3D environment.
> I'm guessing that their bet on VR is spurred by this idea in the 
> industry that full immersion, total engagement, flow, or whatever you 
> call it is the gold standard to chase after---a god to worship. We can 
> see this in the games for learning space, too. A bunch of new research 
> is on measuring engagement and maximizing engagement, and most of it 
> includes some measure of immersion.
> I'm guilty of this, too. My first presentation at a conference was at 
> DiGRA 2005 on modeling and measuring engagement in games. But our 
> study had a really weird finding: the games that were measured as 
> engaging were not the same games that scored high on gamerankings.com 
> <http://gamerankings.com> (same kind of place as metacritic), which we 
> were using to validate our model. We shelved our research and never 
> published a paper. Only now do I understand that games are more than 
> engagement.
> While the medium may be the message, the medium is NOT the meaning.
> Meaning is deeply wrapped up in people's personal histories and 
> cultural backgrounds and in-the-moment situated contexts. The games 
> that are meaningful often are because they've created memorable 
> moments or lasting impressions. For things to be memorable, often they 
> have to be jarring, which is basically the opposite of flow. 
> Immersion/engagement is this false god that the industry worships. I 
> feel like experimental games tend to create these moments of meaning 
> pretty regularly--an alternative to engagement (and a whole branch of 
> industry focused on user experience).
> mark
> On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 7:52 PM, Kara Stone 
> <kara.littlestone at gmail.com <mailto:kara.littlestone at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>     Obviously using a certain medium affects the work of art -the medium
>     ~is~ the message, of course. Again, I don't think I or anyone has to
>     know the hard code to be able to understand the influence of that
>     specific tool. Yet, just because the medium affects the content, the
>     message, the final product, does not mean that every work created in a
> -- 
> Mark Chen, PhD | @mcdanger | markdangerchen.net 
> <http://markdangerchen.net/>
> Indie Game Designer, Ed Tech Researcher, Consultant, Adjunct Prof at 
> Pepperdine, UW Bothell, and UOIT, Accidental Hero and Layabout
> This was sent from a PC with a full-size keyboard; misspellings and 
> brevity are entirely my fault.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre


Sebastian Deterding              | coding conduct
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