Toward Ludic Gerontechnology: a Review of Games for Dementia Care

Dormann Claire
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Due to the increase of the older population, dementia has become a growing societal problem. This has led to an increased interest in digital games to support dementia care, such as cognitive rehabilitation or reminiscence games. To facilitate the design of games for dementia and set a research agenda in this domain, we carried out a literature review of games designed more specifically for dementia. The review brought out a number of design issues and highlighted limitations of on-going development. Beyond cognitive rehabilitation, we should turn to affective game design as many emotional issues stem from the dementia condition. Finally, we advocate stepping out of the functionalistic approach taken in this domain to design enjoyable, emotional and fun game experiences.


Good Violence, Bad Violence: The Ethics of Competition in Multiplayer Games

Nguyen C. Thi Zagal José P.
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Most game studies research on ethics and games examines the ways games encode, express, and encourage ethical reflection and ideas through their systems, mechanics, and representational elements. However, not much attention has been paid to the ethical aspects of games as/when they are played by more than one player. In this article we use literature from the philosophy of sports to discuss how competition can be framed as an ethical activity and how doing so allows us to examine commonly used value-laden terms such as ganking, spawncamping, and trash talking. We propose the idea of the ideal moral competitive game: a game in which the best moves or plays are coincidentally those that result in the best possible degree and type of challenge for my opponent. From this baseline we then articulate a preliminary ethics of play, centered on competition that can be productive for examining and understanding the ethics of inter-player interactions.


Creative Communities: Shaping Process through Performance and Play

Parker Lynn Galloway Dayna
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

This paper studies the use of play as a method to unlock creativity and innovation within a community of practice (a group of individuals who share a common interest and who see value in interaction to enhance their understanding). An analysis of communities of practice and the value of play informs evaluation of two case studies exploring the development of communities of practice, one within the discipline of videogames and one which bridges performing arts and videogames. The case studies provide qualitative data from which the potential of play as a method to inspire creativity and support the development of a potential community of practice is recognised. Establishing trust, disruption of process through play and reflection are key steps proposed in a ‘context provider’s framework’ for individuals or organisations to utilise in the design of activities to support creative process and innovation within a potential community of practice.


An Impression of Home: Player Nostalgia and the Impulse to Explore Game Worlds

Sloan Robin J. S.
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

In this paper I argue that there is a need for game studies to look beyond nostalgia as a period style or form of remediation, and to more carefully consider the role of nostalgia as an affective state experienced by players. Specifically, I argue that nostalgia is a positive emotional response that can be elicited in players without the need to embed period or historical referents in games. Extending this, I argue that the experience of nostalgia might enhance player motivation to explore game spaces, which has repercussions for game design. This paper makes use of existing literature on the psychology and aesthetic qualities of nostalgia to develop an initial theoretical basis for the study. To explore the implications of affective nostalgia, a case study analysis of two recent games is presented. Both of these games are dependent upon player motivation to explore their game worlds.


4x Gamer as Myth: Understanding through Player Mythologies

Harrington Johnathan
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

In this paper, we shall argue that games, being textual systems, can be understood semiotically - signs, or units, are being constantly renegotiated within the game due to their ergodicity. However, the mythologies outside of them remain, leading to a potential discrepancy between what is and what is understood. An understanding of player mythologies can, on one hand, help us formulate a better systemic classification of these interactions, while on the other hand, help us escape the restrictions the mythologies they belong in pose.


Prank, Troll, Gross and Gore: Performance Issues in Esport Live-Streaming

Karhulahti Veli-Matti
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

This article examines the functions of prank performance and troll performance for the aesthetics of personal live-streaming, i.e. the practice of live-streaming one’s personal performance via platforms such as The study is based on a close analysis of personal esport live-streamer Ali Larsen, aka Gross Gore, via a 12-month observation period. With help of Goffmanian frame theory the notions of interview frame and play frame are introduced as the basic cognitive tools for organizing personal esport livestream experiences. The study concludes by proposing three factors that are vital for the aesthetics of personal live-streaming in general: (1) the feeling of affecting live-streams, (2) the suspense that derives from expecting something unexpected to happen in livestreams, and (3) the sharing of dramatic developments that occur in live-streams.


“We Don’t Sell Blocks” Exploring Minecraft’s Commissioning Market

Koutsouras Panagiotis Martindale Sarah Crabtree Andy
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

In recent years, we have experienced the proliferation of videogames that have, as their main mode of play, the creation of in-game content. Even though existing literature has looked into various characteristics of these games, one of their aspects that warrants further exploration is the monetisation practices that can emerge in their context. Through our ongoing ethnographic study, we became aware of a vivid commissioning market in Minecraft’s creative community. Our findings point out the 3 main actors that constitute this market: the clients, who own Minecraft servers; the contractors, who handle the clients’ orders of Minecraft maps; and the builders, who are responsible for the creation of said maps. Furthermore, our work has revealed that the commodity at play is not the in-game content, as one would expect, but the service of creating this content. These findings suggest that commissioning in Minecraft – a well-organised process, initiated and sustained solely by the members of the game’s community – plays a crucial role in the game’s current structure. Moreover, they challenge the belief that content generation in gaming settings is free-labour that is exploited by the developers of those games.


The Impact of Co-Located Play on Social Presence and Game Experience in a VR Game

Gómez Maureira Marcello A. Verbeek Fons
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

This exploratory case study looks at the scenario of virtual reality (VR) gaming in a social setting. We raise the question whether game experience and social presence (measured through a questionnaire) are impacted by physically separating players versus co-located play. We asked 34 participants to play a two-player VR game using head mounted displays in which they shared a virtual environment. We compared two conditions: 1) playing in the same physical space, allowing direct communication between players and 2) playing in separated rooms, with communication via intercom. Our results indicate no differences between the two testing conditions. Based on this, we conclude that current VR technology can facilitate a multi-user game experience, played from separate locations, that is experienced as if it were played co-located. We see the outcome of the study as an encouragement for designers to involve social elements in online, multi-user VR games.


Super Mario as a String: Platformer Level Generation Via LSTMs

Summerville Adam J. Mateas Michael
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

The procedural generation of video game levels has existed for at least 30 years, but only recently have machine learning approaches been used to generate levels without specifying the rules for generation. A number of these have looked at platformer levels as a sequence of characters and performed generation using Markov chains. In this paper we examine the use of Long Short-Term Memory recurrent neural networks (LSTMs) for the purpose of generating levels trained from a corpus of Super Mario Bros. levels. We analyze a number of different data representations and how the generated levels fit into the space of human authored Super Mario Bros. levels.


BioGraphr: Science Games on a Biotic Computer

Gerber Lukas C. Doshi Michael C. Kim Honesty Riedel-Kruse Ingmar H.
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

The advancement of biotechnology enables novel types of interaction devices, alternative computers, and games. Design principles for effective human interactions on these technologies is still largely unexplored. Here we present the BioGraphr, an interactive tabletop gaming system that enables playful experience and interaction with millions of microorganisms at the millimeter scale: Light patterns (images) are projected into a miniaquarium containing phototactic (i.e. respond to light) Euglena cells, which then arrange into complex dynamic bioconvection patterns within seconds. We characterized the biocomputational properties of the BioGraphr, designed biotic games, and explored novel interactive scientific and artistic activities. Responses by test players indicate fun and meaningful gameplay and emphasize how learning about microscopic biology can be naturally coupled to a “bio-computational” substrate. We derived general humancomputer interaction design lessons for games on biological machines. The BioGraphr is accessible for DIY, museums as well as formal science education as its low-cost version is easy to reproduce, and Euglena cell cultures are long term stable.