Design Concepts for Empowerment through Urban Play

Ferri Gabriele Hansen Nicolai B. van Heerden Adam Schouten Ben
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

Playfulness intertwined with city-related themes, such as participatory planning and civic media are becoming more popular. In the last ten years, game designers have taken up the theme of play in relation to the urban environment. In this paper, we present a conceptual mapping of “urban play,” through the analysis of eight examples of urban games. Better conceptual tools are necessary to discuss and reflect on how games draw on, or deal with, urban issues. While urban games are diverse in medium, intent, and experience, across the spectrum analyzed in this paper, they hold the potential for various player experiences emerging through play that may be useful to designers. These are: a sense of agency and impact; feelings of relatedness and empathy; an awareness and understanding of complexity, perspective-taking and scenario-building, and either planning or taking action. The conceptual mapping offers scholars and practitioners a more nuanced vocabulary for designing games and playful interventions that might be used to tackle societal issues that either require or could benefit from genuine public involvement as engaged citizens.


PlayFit: Designing playful activity interventions for teenagers

Sturm Janienke Tieben Rob Deen Menno Bekker Tilde Schouten Ben
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

Young people spend a large part of their day sedentary, both at school and at home. The aim of the PlayFit project is to persuade teenagers to lead a more active lifestyle by using digital as well as non-digital games and play. In this position paper, we describe in detail the three key principles of our vision concerning the design of game-based interventions for stimulating physical activity: playful persuasion, ambient action and play profiles. In our vision teenagers take part in playful activities and games throughout the day. In these activities, casual action is inherent to the fun experience, thus reducing teenagers’ sedentary behavior. Relevant information about their activities and preferences is stored in a personal play profile, which affects the games they play and through which they can communicate to their peers. We illustrate this vision by means of several innovative game concepts.