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.


Quilting the meaning: gameplay as catalyst of signification and why to co-op in game studies

Giuliana Gianmarco Thierry
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

In this paper I propose a unifying perspective on meaning-making based on the assumption that signification in digital games is mainly produced through the cognitive & interpretative processes involved into gameplay. More exactly, the gameplay will be intended as series of sensorimotor acts and cognitive tasks that act as a catalyst and hub between semantics, narration, aesthetic, interactions & mechanics. This will be done with an interdisciplinary case analysis of Brothers: a tales of two sons and Papers, Please. My goals are two. The first one is to offer a deeper perspective on how complex contents, like brotherhood as a value and migration as a topic, dramatically depend on the cognitions triggered by playing that act as signifiers for interpretations on all the different layers of meaning. The second one is to contribute in laying the foundation of a unified perspective of meaning.


Virtual Reality is ‘Finally Here’: A Qualitative Exploration of Formal Determinants of Player Experience in VR

Murphy Dooley J.
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

It is already a truism that consumer virtual reality (VR) systems offer sensorially immersive first-person experiences that differ markedly from those begat by traditional screen displays. But what are the implications of this for player experience? It is well-documented that VR can induce illusions of non-mediation; of spatial presence; of embodiment in avatars. This paper asks—and reports on—what common features of digital games are liable to be experienced as stressors (that is, as beyond optimally affective or intense) when the player perceives her avatar–self egocentrically as a ‘life-sized’, spatially present, and potentially vulnerable entity within the gameworld. The present paper describes and discusses findings from a qualitative content analysis of immersive virtual environments (IVEs) experienced via head-mounted display-based VR systems akin to those now commercially available. A purposive sample comprising video, photographic, and written documentation of IVEs (n = 124) from historical clinical VR and telepresence research is interrogated through the lens of cognitive media theory. Effecting a novel approach inspired by systematic review, the present study's observations and inferences regarding players' subjective experience of IVEs are presented alongside relevant findings from the research literature sampled. This produces a preliminary formal framework for discussing VR player experience as significantly structured by patiency (cf. agency), with VR experiences eliciting self-directed affect, and thereby somewhat unintentionally engaging the player's body as a site for feedback.


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.


A Cognitivist Theory of Affordances for Games

Cardona-Rivera Rogelio E. Young R. Michael
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Affordances, broadly construed as opportunities for action, have been used to explain game-related phenomena in a variety of different contexts. This paper presents a cognitivist theory of affordances, which is general enough that it subsumes several related theories, yet precise enough that it provides a useful lens through which to view games. The framework is a re-contextualization of older work that unifies approaches taken in the fields of ecological psychology, interaction design, and human-computer interaction. The Cognitivist Theory of Affordances in Games is thus a theoretical contribution, which synthesizes several views by presenting three independent manipulable entities that are relevant to the study of games: 1) real affordances, what actions are possible in a game, 2) perceived affordances, what actions players perceive possible in a game, and 3) feedback, perceptual information introduced in the game by its designers to advertise real affordances in the hopes of eliciting accurate perceived affordances.


Exploring E-sports: A Case Study of Gameplay in Counter-strike

Rambusch Jana Jakobsson Peter Pargman Daniel
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

In this paper, a case study of Counter-strike is presented in which cognitive, cultural, economical, and technological aspects of people’s gameplay activities are discussed. Most attention is given to Counter-strike as an e-sport – competitive gameplay which borrows forms from traditional sports. Also, methodological and theoretical issues related to the study are discussed, including issues of player-centered approaches and issues related to the crossdisciplinarily of the study, which borrows perspectives from cognitive science as well as cultural studies.


Video Games, Walking the Fine Line between Art and Entertainment

Folkerts Jef
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

This paper is partly a response to the ongoing debate in the game world about whether games can be art, and partly an excerpt from my Ph.D. research. I aim to offer some insights in the cognitive experiences gamers have while playing - hopefully useful to both designers and scholars. I will argue that an art experience is a particular kind of cognitive experience, namely a distinctive type of imagination. The essence of an art experience is the mental representation of a signification process, a sort of mirrored representation that is also known as mimesis. I hope to demonstrate that it is a universal feature of art to mirror life, or more accurately, a deliberate view on it. And that what constitutes art is not defined by the properties of an artefact, but by our experience of it, by our mental actions. Along the same line I maintain that the boundaries between what we usually label entertainment and what art can not be as sharply defined as we generally assume. The main arguments in the aforementioned debate concern affective features, perceivable aesthetic qualities (as opposed to artistic properties), and the uniqueness of a game. I will set out explaining why most expert assumptions seem not discriminating enough to distinguish an art experience from an entertainment experience. Next I present some theoretical perspectives on both kinds of experiences, after which I will explain how they are being mixed and intertwined in everyday practice. Some gameplay examples should finally illustrate this inevitably condensed theoretical framework, drawn from my more detailed and elaborated dissertation on signification, imagination and mimesis in games.


The use of Video Game Technology for Investigating Perceptual and Cognitive Awareness in Sports

Mulligan Desmond Dobson Mike McCracken Janet
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

This paper describes a framework for investigating and manipulating the attentional components of video game play in order to affect learning transfer across different task environments. Several groups of video game players (VGP) and non video game players – both hockey and non-hockey groups (NVGPH, NVGP) will be tested at baseline on several aspects of visual processing skill. The NVGP and NVGPH groups will then train for one week in an action video game playing environment. They will then be re-tested for attentional efficiency. The hockey group will also be tested before and after training on a pattern and cue recognition sport video test. We intend to show that, not only does video game play alter basic components of visual attentional resources, but that it can also enhance perceptual learning transfer across unrelated task domains.