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.


Contextually-Ambiguous Pervasive Games: An Exploratory Study

Dansey Neil Stevens Brett Eglin Roger
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

In this paper a player-centric view is taken to illustrate game rules in terms of definition and validation. Games with externally-defined but internally-validated rules are given the term contextually-ambiguous games, and it is suggested that a contemporary definition of pervasiveness in games should accommodate contextual ambiguity. Several pervasive games have displayed elements of this ambiguity, but examples of games which feature this as a core gameplay mechanism are rare. Therefore, four such games are implemented in a case study in order to explore the potential of contextually-ambiguous games. Results are tentative, but offer some insight into potentially popular features and target audiences of such games.