Between Pleasure and Power: Game Design Patterns In Clickbait Ludoporn

Passmore Cale Harrer Sabine Spiel Katta
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Despite its pervasiveness and prosperity in online spaces, the genre of playable online pornog- raphy, or ludoporn, has received little scholarly attention both in Human-Computer Interac- tion (HCI), Games Studies, and Porn Studies. In this paper, we discuss clickbait ludoporn as a hybrid design genre bridging games and pornography as they are offered for free on online platforms. We develop a tentative taxonomy of common design features, analysing game mechanics in terms of the libidinal investments and sexual pleasures promoted to players. Our analysis is based on a sample of 18 games retrieved from three different platforms. We suggest that the design of clickbait ludoporn mechanics incorporate mainstream approaches to sexuality, intimacy, and corporeality with fundamental consequences on how pleasure is culturally produced, articulated and normalised. We close on a call for game researchers and designers to claim the space of clickbait ludoporn with transformative intent.


Design Bleed: A Standpoint Methodology for Game Design

Toft Ida Harrer Sabine
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

In this paper we develop the concept of design bleed, a standpoint approach to game design. We adopt the terminology of bleed from the Nordic community around live- action role-playing games and use it as a lens on game development. Based on our own experiences in developing two game jam games, Lovebirds and Get Your Rocks On, we identify four ‘ingredients’ for bleed-inspired game design. We develop design bleed as a community affirming design practice which can be used as a tool for carving out shared standpoints. We suggest that this is particularly productive for game designers at the margins, as it has potential to be creatively and emotionally healing but can also invite expressions for political resistance to normative game culture.


Designing Global Empowerment? Activist Self-Narratives in Culturally Mixed Settings

Harrer Sabine
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

This paper reviews the experiences of game workshop facilitators in a culturally mixed activist setting based on narrative interviews with representatives of the Game Girl Workshop (GGW), a Denmark-based feminist initiative established in 2010. By identifying emergent themes and concerns in the organizers’ self-narratives, this study aims to unpack some current challenges activists from the Global North face when working towards empowerment in cross-cultural educational settings. Crucially, what can be experienced as "empowering" differs depending on cultural factors. This study looks at the practices and narratives GGW activists have developed in response to this intercultural challenge. The focus on workshop organizers’ narratives is motivated by two opposed ambitions. The first ambition is to honor and acknowledge the facilitators' activist experience and tacit knowledges which have allowed them to follow through with their aspirational, mostly voluntary work in the games field. The second ambition, conversely, is to identify and redress some problematic assumptions surfacing in the facilitators’ self-narratives as popular, yet potentially harmful stereotypes about Eurocentric entitlement and the Global South. By balancing these two ambitions, this study aims to validate the previous work GGW and other western feminist initiatives have done to change the status quo of game making, while identifying Eurocentrism and western entitlement as persistent myths to be resolved by current and future activists.


Inviting Grief into Games: The Game Design Process as Personal Dialogue

Harrer Sabine Schoenau-Fog Henrik
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

This paper investigates how designers might initiate a dialogue with underrepresented groups, infusing design with individuals’ personal stories and imaginations. It does so alongside the example of Jocoi, a game aiming at mediating the experience of loss and grief over a dead baby. Apart from being a taboo subject in general, there is no explanation for the absence of this fairly common experience in games. Drawing on the emotional worlds and tastes of individuals identifying as bereft parents, Jocoi involved a collaboration with an Austrian self-help group for affected parents. The stories of four informants then served as an initial orientation point marking out the direction of our ensuing game design process. Working out central themes, needs and concerns conveyed by the group, the aim was to address some of their emotional challenges appropriately through a game such as 벳무브 코드. The paper first presents a rationale for the chosen method of collaboration. Most importantly, we embrace a paradigmatic shift from game design as the production of meaning and emotion towards game design as facilitation or mediation. The second section will zoom in to the concrete tools and stages we used in our our facilitation process with Jocoi. It will trace key moments in moving from kick-off workshop to the final game. Finally, the ensuing discussion will highlight learnings for a broader understanding of introducing diversity into games. The question of appropriateness seems to be of particular importance for game designers. It is a matter of maintaining a balance between active listening and autonomous creative practice. The project is part of an ongoing PhD project on loss and grief in games.