Meta-synthesis of player typologies

Tuunanen Janne Hamari Juho
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

This paper investigates different ways in which players have been categorized in game research literature in order to distinguish relevant customer segments for designing and marketing of game’s value offerings. This paper adopts segmentation and marketing theory as its bases of analysis. The goal is to synthesize the results of various studies and to find the prevailing concepts, combine them, and draw implications to further studies and segmentation of the player base. The research process for this study proceeded from large literature search, to author-centric (Webster & Watson 2002) identification and categorization of previous works based on the established factors of segmentation (demographic, psychographic, and behavioral variables) in marketing theory. The previous works on player typologies were further analyzed using concept-centric approach and synthesized according to common and repeating factors in the previous studies. The results indicate that player typologies in previous literature can be synthesized into seven key dimensions: Skill, Achievement, Exploration, Sociability, Killer, Immersion and In-game demographics. The paper highlights for further studies the self-fulfilling and self-validating nature of the current player typologies because their relatively high use in game design practices as well as discusses the role of game design in segmentation of players.


In Defence of a Magic Circle: The Social and Mental Boundaries of Play

Stenros Jaakko
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

This article reviews the history of the concept of the magic circle, its criticism and the numerous other metaphors that have been used to capture the zone of play or the border that surrounds it, such as world, frame, bubble, net, screen, reality, membrane, zone, environment, or attitude. The various conceptions of social and mental borders are reviewed and separated from the sites where cultural residue of such borders is encountered. Finally, a model is forwarded where the psychological bubble of playfulness, the social contract of the magic circle and the spatial, temporal or product- based arena are separated.


Game design tools: Time to evaluate

Neil Katharine
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

The art form of the video game has a very idiosyncratic reliance on the process and practice of its designers. We work with creative and computational problems that form a web of deep complexity. And yet, as I have noticed in my professional practice as a game designer, we do not use tools to support our design process. For more than a decade, designers and researchers have argued for the development and use of both conceptual and concrete tools. To this end, formal and semi-formal game design models have been proposed and, more recently, experimental software-based tools have been developed by the research community. To date, however, none of these tools or models have been adopted into mainstream practice within the game design community. In this paper I argue that it is difficult, if not methodologically flawed, to assess the work in the field of game design support without more qualitative data on how such tools fare in actual game design practice. Evaluation research would be an essential contribution towards answering the question of whether – and if so, how - these experimental formal models and tools can support and improve the game design process.


Digital games as experiment stimulus

Järvelä Simo Ekman Inger Kivikangas J. Matias Ravaja Niklas
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

Digital games offer rich media content and engaging action, accessible individually or in groups collaborating or competing against each other. This makes them promising for use as stimulus in research settings. This paper examines the advantages and challenges of using games in experimental research with particular focus on strict stimulus control through the following four areas: (1) matching and regulating task type, (2) data segmentation and event coding, (3) compatibility between participants and (4) planning and conducting data collection. This contribution provides a breakdown of the steps necessary for using a digital game in experimental studies, along with a checklist for researchers illustrating variables that potentially affect the reliability and validity of experiments. We also offer a practical study example. Ideally, the identification of the methodological and practical considerations of employing games in empirical research will also provide useful in interpreting and evaluating experimental work utilizing games as stimulus.


flâneur, a walkthrough: Locative literature as participation and play

Løvlie Anders Sundnes
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

This paper presents an experiment in facilitating public contributions to an experimental system for locative literature called textopia. Discussing approaches to collaborative writing and the relationship between games and art, the paper presents the development and the testing of a game designed to foster participation in the system. The game is based on the recombination of found texts into literary compositions, integrating the act of exploring the urban environment into the act of writing, as well as into the medium that is studied. The resulting texts are read as a form of situated, poetic documentary reports on the urban textual environment. The experiment also draws attention to the importance of live events in building a literary community.


Player-reported Impediments to Game-based Learning

Harviainen J. Tuomas Lainema Timo Saarinen Eeli
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

This article addresses the question of how games function as learning tools, from the perspective of player-stated problems. It is based on interviews and essays, collected from university students who reported problems dealing with unrealistic trust, competitive play leading to game-based logic of business phenomena instead of their learning or applying real skills, and outright cheating. According to the respondents, the main cause of problems appears to be that by many participants, games are framed as an activity that is to be done competitively. Along with reporting the impediments, the article discusses potential solutions.


Tackling the Metaphor-Simulation Dilemma

Möring Sebastian
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

This paper presents a couple of observations on the use of the concept of metaphor in game studies: Firstly, often when authors use the concept of metaphor this appears in conceptual and textual proximity to simulation. Secondly, the concept of metaphor is often applied to signify seemingly abstract games and to form thereby an opposition to mimetic simulations. Thirdly, definitions applied for simulation as well as for metaphor are strikingly similar. As such this paper discusses in a first step respective examples from the field of game studies in order to develop an understanding how the terms metaphor and simulation are used there. In a second step it presents what is here called the “metaphor-simulation dilemma” which shows that the definitions of both concepts are strikingly similar. From these observations I will derive and demonstrate what I call the metaphor-simulation dilemma. Finally, I will argue based on a narrow understanding of metaphor to consider simulations always already as metonyms and thereby challenge the assumption that especially abstract simulations are metaphors. Furthermore, I will challenge the assumption that simulations required a similarity between the simulating and the simulated with Frasca’s sign-based definition of a simulation and comments on this. And finally I will explore a condition which enables us to speak of a metaphoric simulation.


Gambling in Social Networks: Gaming Experiences of Finnish Online Gamblers

Kinnunen Jani Rautio Erkka Alha Kati Paavilainen Janne
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

Online gambling is often regarded as asocial activity. Previously players could not interact with each other in online environments. The situation has changed as internet, in general, has evolved towards a more social environment. First Finnish online gambling games, eBingo and online poker, which enabled in-game social interaction were opened in the year 2010. This article reports findings from the study which focused on the social interaction connected with these games. Based on the questionnaire data of 409 players 16 players were selected for the thematic interviews. The analysis of the interviews indicates that even if social interaction is not necessary in order to play, it is meaningful in players’ experience of the game. The different levels of sociality before, during and/or after the game have an influence on the construction of gaming experiences and connect gambling as meaningful part of players’ social networks.


Visualizing Persuasive Structures in Advergames

de la Hera Conde-Pumpido Teresa
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

Since the publication of Ian Bogost's two first books (2006, 2007), procedural rhetoric has been the focus of attention of many scholars working on persuasive strategies in digital games (e.g., Heide & Nørholm 2009, Flanagan 2009, Swain 2010, Ferrari 2010). This paper aims to demonstrate that other persuasive dimensions could complement procedural rhetoric to design games with advertising purposes. This paper initially explains the value of use for each one of the persuasive dimensions that could appear in an advergame: narrative persuasion, procedural rhetoric, visual rhetoric, audiovisual rhetoric and textual rhetoric. Then a framework to analyze and visualize the persuasive structure of advergames is proposed, explained and defended. Finally the model is applied to three case studies.


The Early Micro User: Games writing, hardware hacking, and the will to mod

Swalwell Melanie
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

Historical perspectives are largely absent from contemporary debates about user-making. In this paper, I approach the question of user and player making, historically. I consider what microcomputer users and players did in the 1980s, when digital games first became available to play. Excavating the practices of early users through historical research into game coding, hardware building and hacking places not only places practices such as game modification into a longer arc of cultural history of user activity. Exploring what early users did with computers also provides new perspectives on contemporary debates about users’ productivity. The high degree of interest that contemporary users’ productivity is generating in academic circles provides a wider context for such inquiries.