“Gamification Does Not Belong at a University”

Palmquist Adam Linderoth Jonas
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

This paper reports a case study in which some students in a large-scale gamification implementation project wrote a script that automated their progression. The incident was followed with multi-sited ethnography and analysed through the lens of Goffman’s frame analysis. Based on chat logs, mail correspondence, data on user behaviour in the learning management system, informal conversations and student interviews, the study shows that different actors have somewhat different perceptions of gamification, as they framed the incident with the script in different ways. The students saw their actions as a form of resistance and activism towards problematic game design and had a desire to uphold specific tech-student identities. The gamification designers treated the incident as an act of playfulness and display of technological skills. The university, on the other hand, framed the incident as cheating. The study highlights the need for educational institutions to be knowledgeable about games and gaming behaviour if they want to implement gamification.


How to Reference a Digital Game

Gualeni Stefano Fassone Riccardo Linderoth Jonas
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

The question of what constitutes a game as a social object is famously problematic. The alleged impossibility of formulating a complete analytical definition for what constitutes a game is perhaps the most evident symptom of that difficulty. One expression of this problem that has been entirely overlooked by academia is the scholarly practice of referencing games. This paper addresses game referencing as a practice that is implicated with- and constitutive for- the ways in which we conceptualize and assign cultural value to games. Focusing on the conceptual framing of games, on game authorship, and on the historical dimensions of both, we will discuss referencing games as an act that is inevitably political. On these premises, we will provide foundational guidelines for thinking about one’s decisions concerning referencing and about the meaning and relevance of those decisions.


This is not a Door: an Ecological approach to Computer Games

Linderoth Jonas Bennerstedt Ulrika
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

In this chapter we outline an ecological approach to computer games and test out how the theory of ecological psychology can be used for understanding digital games and game-play. Ecological psychology holds that learning is a process of differentiating and not of interpreting or construing. Therefore semiotic/cognitive views on learning and perception with computer games, were the perceptual act is thought to be adding experiences to the things we see in a game in order to make meaning, can be questioned. The theoretical points are illustrated with data from an interaction study made on players playing the game Timesplitters 2 on an X-box.


Exploring anonymity in cooperative board games

Linderoth Jonas
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

This study was done as a part of a larger research project where the interest was on exploring if and how gameplay design could give informative principles to the design of educational activities. The researchers conducted a series of studies trying to map game mechanics that had the special quality of being inclusive, i.e., playable by a diverse group of players. This specific study focused on designing a cooperative board game with the goal of implementing anonymity as a game mechanic. Inspired by the gameplay design patterns methodology (Björk & Holopainen 2005a; 2005b; Holopainen & Björk 2008), mechanics from existing cooperative board games were extracted and analyzed in order to inform the design process. The results from prototyping and play testing indicated that it is possible to implement anonymous actions in cooperative board games and that this mechanic made rather unique forms of gameplay possible. These design patterns can be further developed in order to address inclusive educational practices.


Beyond the digital divide: An ecological approach to gameplay

Linderoth Jonas
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

This paper outlines a framework for understanding gameplay from the perspective of ecological psychology. According to this perspective, gameplay can be described in terms of perceiving, acting on and transforming the affordances that are related to a game system or to other players in a game. Challenges in games have an emphasis on perceiving suitable actions and/or performing suitable actions, often with emphasis on one aspect. For example, in many board games, strategy games and puzzle games, the challenge is to perceive appropriate affordances while in many sports, multiplayer shooter games, racing games, etc. the challenge is to use appropriate affordances. From this follows that the ecological approach to gameplay overrides the division of games as being digital and non-digital games.


Should I stay or should I go? – Boundary maintaining mechanisms in Left 4 Dead 2

Linderoth Jonas Björk Staffan Olsson Camilla
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

In this paper we report an ethnographic study of Pick Up Groups (PUGs) in the game Left 4 Dead 2. Our aim with the study is to contribute with a deeper understanding of how these new social arenas are constituted by its’ participants and the role game design plays in structuring these encounters. As a deliberate attempt to go beyond the discussion in the game studies field about formalism versus play studies, we use both concepts from micro-sociology as well as concepts from the field of game design as our analytical framework. Our results shows that the dynamics of a PUG can be understood in relation to how players uphold and negotiate the boundary between the their in-game-identity based on their gaming skill and a other social relations outside of the game context.


Why gamers donʼt learn more: An ecological approach to games as learning environments

Linderoth Jonas
2010 DiGRA Nordic '10: Proceedings of the 2010 International DiGRA Nordic Conference: Experiencing Games: Games, Play, and Players

This paper criticizes the argument that video games by their nature are good learning environments. By applying the ecological approach to perception and learning to examples of game play, the paper shows that games can be designed so that players are able to see and utilize affordances without developing skills. Compared to other practices, gaming demands less learning of the practitioner since progress can be built into the system. Contrary to the arguments put forth by James Paul Gee in his book What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy, this paper comes to the conclusion that good games do not necessarily imply good learning.