Practical Considerations for Values-Conscious Pervasive Games

Jerrett Adam Howell Peter de Beer Koos
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Pervasive games are a genre that blur reality and fiction by creating unique experiences that are played in and affected by real life. Because of their effective blend of reality and fiction, the genre has become popular for creating serious games that, among other things, explore the values of players and their communities. While value exploration is often discussed in the context of subgenres like alternate reality and live-action roleplaying games, little literature exists that discusses value exploration in the genre of pervasive games more broadly. As such, this paper amalgamates practices across pervasive game types that facilitate value exploration through play. These practices are then presented as design considerations alongside practical techniques that designers can implement to encourage playing with values. These considerations are presented to provide designers with practical ways to make their games more meaningful to and representative of increasingly diverse player populations.


Creating Meaningful Games through Values-Driven Design Principles

Jerrett Adam Howell Peter Dansey Neil
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

The interactivity present in games makes them useful vehicles for the exploration of various concepts outside of “finding the fun”. Empathy games – games that are developed to educate and encourage empathetic responses from players about a scenario – are one such example. However, the notion of empathy game design overlaps with other tangential design theories like emotional game design, radical game design, and critical game design. These theories often overlap but are difficult to discover because of their different naming conventions. To assist designers, this paper discusses design principles from these and other similar game design frameworks. Using these, it presents a consolidated set of design principles and considerations that can be applied to game projects. These principles are presented to inspire future design work to explore lesser-known experiences, in the hopes of being more inclusive of, and more meaningful to, a diverse player base.


Epistemological Issues in Understanding Games Design, Play-Experience, and Reportage

Howell Peter Stevens Brett
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

This paper presents a philosophically grounded argument for examining how second-order analysis can be approached with regard to epistemologies of game design and play-experience. Games are presented as multiple ‘units of being’ sharing relationships of dependency and transformation, which can be approached differently by different audiences. To demonstrate how such relationships can function between units of being, examples from game analyses are discussed with particular attention to the role of cognition and memory in reporting on the play-experience specifically. Implications for design practice, player studies, game analysis, and games criticism are discussed throughout the argument, working towards a theoretical foundation for enabling more deeply informed interpretation and analyses.


Disrupting the Player’s Schematised Knowledge of Game Components

Howell Peter Stevens Brett Eyles Mark
2014 DiGRA '14 - Proceedings of the 2014 DiGRA International Conference

The concept of „conservatism‟ in game design has been a subject of debate for a number of years. This „conservatism‟ is linked to „player-centricity‟ in design. Such player-centricity can be suggested to place a limit on the fulfilment of high level cognitive player needs. A framework is thus proposed for disruptive game design that focuses on the player and how they learn about game components. It actively seeks the disruption of knowledge construction as well as the recall process used in applying that knowledge to new situations. Such disruption aims to increase the player‟s cognitive engagement with the game in a way that does not entirely prevent them from understanding the game, which may cause frustration or confusion. This design approach thus aims to provide greater potential for fulfilment of a player‟s high level cognitive needs. The framework is applied to a small case study of the game Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (The Chinese Room, 2013) that was designed and developed utilising its principles.


Schematically Disruptive Game Design

Howell Peter
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

Many games focus their resources at satiating player ‘needs’, and meeting perceived expectations that players have of how games should behave and of what constitutes enjoyable, gratifying gameplay. This paper outlines an alternate position on game design – one which focuses on disrupting these expectations, on designing games that players cannot succeed in simply by relying on their pre-acquired gameplay experiences. A critique of current game design trends is offered, and possible future outcomes of these trends analysed. The proposed framework for ‘Schematically Disruptive Design’ is discussed in relation to the current body of literature, alongside a justification of taking a development-led, horror-focused approach to this research programme. The current position of the research and intended direction of study is lastly outlined, along with the intended application of future results.