Beyond the Wall: The Boundaries of the Neomedieval Town in Singleplayer Roleplaying Games

Ford Dom
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

The cities of the ever prevalent neomedieval fantasy roleplaying game are integral to their gameworlds. They act as quest hubs, goals, centres for action and places of safety. Much of the loop of the game revolves around leaving the city to complete quests, then returning to the city again, and repeat. In this paper, I take a closer look at the boundaries of the city. I begin by proposing a model to help define what a city’s boundary is and how it is expressed to the player. Then, I look at how and why players cross those borders back and forth. Through this, I hope to facilitate a better understanding of how the city functions in roleplaying games, and how the ways in which it produces boundaries alters and affects how players interact with the gameworld.


The City in Singleplayer Fantasy Role Playing Games

Vella Daniel Bonello Rutter Giappone Krista
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

This paper considers cities in single-player fantasy role-playing games, identifying recurring tropes in terms of the spatial functions by which they shape the player’s lived experience of the gameworld. The functions of centring, demarcation of inside and outside, movement and encounter will be considered, both in terms of the spatial organizations determining them, and in terms of the spatial practices they give rise to. The analysis shall be anchored in a close engagement with a number of representative titles, including Baldur’s Gate, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Dragon Age: Origins, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt.


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.


Understanding Videogame Cities

Schweizer Bobby
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

This paper examines the city of Steelport in Saints Row: The Third (Volition, 2011) as a real-and-imagined space that can be described using an urban framework of constitutional, representational, and experiential components. It relates mediated and physical cities through spatial arrangement, processes of representation, and the factors that contribute to a sense of place in both material and immaterial worlds.