Affection Games in Digital Play: A Content Analysis of Web Playable Games

Grace Lindsay D
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Affection games are ludic experiences in which players are required to express culturally recognized expressions of liking as a primary goal in the game. Interestingly, while the physical world of analog play has many such activities, the digital world has been relatively limited in affording players the ability to express affection as the primary game goal. Affection games in digital play exist as somewhat esoteric clusters across a variety of cultures and super genres. This paper defragments the diverse set of affection games, collecting, cataloging and describing the games in detail. The paper provides a content analysis of affection games and an overview of their preponderance on the web. This paper organizes affection games into a simple classification based on their game verbs. These are flirting, hugging, kissing, and sexual affection. The content analysis provides the attributes through which the affection games are clustered. Notable patterns from the content analysis include indications that kissing and sexual affection are most common, while hugging games are the rarest. There is also a strong coupling of targeted gender identification and the types of affection made playable. These patterns are indicated both in the spaces in which they are distributed and in their content. As the game industry and the academic research community look for new ways to understand and engage wider demographics, the lessons learned from studying affection games may prove useful. Affection games reveal cultural values, taboo, and may potentially expand the space of pro-social play.


Big Huggin’ A Case Study in Affection Gaming

Grace Lindsay D
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Big Huggin' is a game designed for use with a custom teddy bear controller. Players complete the game by providing several well-timed hugs to a 30 inch teddy bear. It is an experiment and gesture in alternative interface and affection gaming. The game is designed around the action of hugging to support an onscreen character. If the players hug too much, their on screen bear will suffer. If they hug too little the player character will never reach its goal. This paper outlines the design, development and evaluation of the game by a wide demographic. The first section provides an outline of the history of affection gaming, providing the theoretical basis for the design of Big Huggin’. The second section describes the development, prototyping and pre-release of the game. The final section outlines the release to a community of pediatric patients and general play audience. The application of this game as a resource to promote pro-social exploration by players is addressed. The goal of this research is not merely to create an alternative play experience. It is envisioned as an opportunity to explore and critique the intersection of play and affection as practiced in digital games. This paper serves as an introduction to the history of such games, a case study and a post-mortem in the design and development of an affection game.


It’s all fun and games… A history of ideas concerning gamification

Raczkowski Felix
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The paper offers the first results of an analysis of popular gamification guidebook publications. Using the way these guidebooks consider digital games as a starting point, I single out three of the most commonly mentioned associations with games and put them in the context of the overarching ideas that infuse them. After discussing the relationship of gamification and 1960’s behavioral experiments in psychiatric wards, I outline the most important issues that the analysis entails for further research.


Understanding a Socially Awkward Digital Play Journey

Huggard Amy De Mel Anushka Garner Jayden Toprak Cagdas Chatham Alan Mueller Florian
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Socially awkward experiences are often considered as something to be avoided. Interestingly, examples from the traditional games domain suggest that social awkwardness can enable novel and engaging play experiences. We note that there has been little research into exploring social awkwardness when it comes to digital games. In response we present our experiences with Musical Embrace, a digital game that requires close physical proximity and whole body interactions to explore socially awkward play between players. Our observations from users experiencing Musical Embrace at a number of events suggest that social awkwardness experienced by participants often rises and falls as part of the digital play journey. As such, we draw upon the classic five-act performance structure (consisting of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement) to examine the experiences of players and understand the way in which social awkwardness engages players as the game progresses. With our work we hope to inspire game designers to consider the potential of social awkwardness in digital games.



Staples Cary Ward Neil Marone Vittorio
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Using a gaming mindset the authors have developed a serious game using questioning to address the multiple aspects of concept generation, visual composition and technical use of materials. The use of this game has fostered research and discussion in a course exploring the process of design. This paper will document the game’s development process and student feedback. Previously, assignments used “compare + contrast” essays to access mastery. While documents were well crafted, we found when students moved to generating their own ideas and solving their own problems, no bridging of the exploration was evident in the conceptual discussion with the students or the visual generation of artifacts. The students were good at the process of analysis, however no real transference was occurring. Using inspiration generated in the “MetaGame as Teaching Game” (Sharp,J., Macklin,C., Daer, A., Duncan, S., Nealen, A., 2012) workshop, the authors have developed and tested a game to encourage individual discovery and improve transference.


Understanding the Videogame Medium through Perspectives of Participation

Pereira Luís Lucas Roque Licinio
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The videogame medium enables the player to participate in meaningful activities from which a gameplay experience emerges. The multiplicity of forms that a videogame can take associated with the subjective and holistic nature of experience challenge a comprehensive and systematic approach to design in the videogame medium. In this paper we present a conceptual model to support game design and gameplay experience evaluation built upon the notion of participation, the way players take part in gameplay activity and experience the game. The model aims to contribute to an understanding of the design space in videogame medium as well as to the evaluation of gameplay experience through six perspectives on participation: Playfulness, Challenge, Embodiment, Sociability, Sensemaking and Sensoriality. We illustrate the use of the model as a basis for analysis of videogame objects and the kinds of participation they promote.


Nostalgia in Retro Game Design

Garda Maria B.
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

I distinguish between two kinds of nostalgia in retro game design – restorative and reflective. The former manifests itself in ‘total restoration of monuments of the past’, while the latter ‘lingers in the dreams of another place and another time’. Restorative nostalgia is visible in the retrogaming practices, such as creation of emulators, appreciation of classic titles and remaking them for new platforms. Reflective nostalgia is more detached from the past and sees history of the medium as a set of styles, it serves creativity and artistic erudition. In the article I elaborate on the nostalgic gestures of independent game designers in games such as Hotline Miami, Fez, FTL: Faster than light and McPixel. I argue that retro games are an exceedingly heterogeneous group with different authors having different objectives and motivations.


Teaching Serious Game App Design Through Client-based Projects

Totten Christopher
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

This paper explores mobile game development courses conducted during the 2012/2013 academic year at George Mason University. In the courses, students had to design mobile games for clients. Each design group of five students was responsible for developing a game that would address the clients’ goals. Throughout each course students developed mobile game prototypes and, eventually, an alpha build of the proposed mobile game on a phone or tablet. This paper explores the effectiveness of studio courses in embodying the game design process over individual tool-based courses. It examines the effectiveness of an immersive client-based design project at demonstrating development issues to students. Lastly, it explores how such courses can fit into a Game Design curriculum while still addressing specific Serious Game issues. Through the exploration proposed, educators can consider whether the challenges, surprises, and management issues inherent in client-based projects are worth wider adoption.


Fusing Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Virtual Worlds Behavioral Research

Symborski Carl Jackson Gary M. Barton Meg Cranmer Geoffrey Raines Byron Quinn Mary Magee Pearce Celia
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

In this study, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) developed a quantitative-qualitative mixed methods research technique to investigate the extent to which real world characteristics of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) players can be predicted based on the characteristics and behavior of their avatars. SAIC used three primary assessment instruments to quantitatively rate videos of participant gameplay sessions, while GT produced detailed qualitative descriptions of avatar activities and behavior. Automated textual analysis was then used to identify conceptual themes across all of the descriptions produced by the qualitative team. Using the themes generated by the automated textual analysis in combination with the quantitative variables, we were able to demonstrate the efficacy of the hybrid method for the prediction of real world characteristics from avatar characteristics and behavior.


A Study of Team Cohesion and Player Satisfaction in two Face-to-Face Games

Martin Eleanor Good Judith
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

In this paper we investigate the link between game rules, team cohesion and players’ satisfaction with their teams within face-to-face team-based games. To measure team cohesion, rules from two games were analysed from the perspective of Social Identity Theory in order to form a hypothesis as to which game would be more likely to lead to more cohesive teams, where team cohesion is measured by the extent to which each player identifies with their team. Player satisfaction was measured by looking at three factors: communication within the team, player outcome versus team outcome, and fairness. Significant differences were found in the team cohesion measure suggesting that, as predicted by Social Identity Theory, team cohesion can be fostered by game rules. Team cohesion also correlated positively with player satisfaction. Taken together, this suggests that for games in which team cohesion is an important part, game designers can incorporate game rules in such as a way as to increase the likelihood of both team cohesion and player satisfaction.