Affective and Bodily Involvement in Children’s Tablet Play

Waern Annika Bohne Gunnar
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

The rapid development of tablet applications targeting pre-school children presents us with challenging questions concerning how this age group engages with the applications. We performed a study with a tablet game designed to teach pre-school children about emotions, studying their mode of engagement and their understanding of the game. The purpose of the study was to provide insights into what play activities are encouraged by tablet play. The study showed clearly that even though the interactivity of the game was very limited, the children understood the social and emotional aspects of the game content very well. We also found that the children would sometimes engage affectively and dramatically with the game content; we highlight in particular instances of bodily involvement with the game. We argue that tablet games offer design opportunities for children in this age range that may be less relevant for older children, by taking corporeal play around the tablet into account. While none of the models for computer game-based learning and persuasion that have been proposed in literature constitutes a perfect fit to the behavior observed in our study, we find some resonance in the concept of procedural rhetorics in the way the players' interaction with the game serves to complete a rhetorical argument; in this case the storyline of the game. The children's dramatic involvement may potentially serve to strengthen such arguments.


Contextualizing Flow in Games

Salisbury John Tomlinson Penda
2014 DiGRA '14 - Proceedings of the 2014 DiGRA International Conference

Flow, the concept developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi over the last forty years or so (see Csikszentmihalyi 1975) has been invoked quite often with respect to the way players engage with digital games (e.g. Baron 2012; Cowley et al. 2008; Sweetser and Wyeth 2005; Brathwaite & Schreiber, 2009; Fullerton, Swain, & Hoffman, 2008; Schell, 2008). However Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi (2002) argue that ‘video games’ are in fact likely to promote undesirable experiences of a kind Csikszentmihalyi refers to as ‘entropy’ or unstructured and unsatisfying life experiences. This presentation explores Csikszentmihalyi’s greater thesis and examines how a broader reading of Flow theory can potentially help us understand Flow like engagements beyond the simple mechanistic view of challenge and reward sometimes encountered in the literature. The main thrust of the argument made here is to explicitly introduce personally expressed cultural values into the conditions of Flow. By doing so we can then provide a value centric analysis and design approach, similar to that of Cockton’s (2004; 2012) proposal to include values into general software design. That is the very nature of challenges and rewards needs to be considered in order to investigate how overcoming or receiving such would be positively or negatively perceived by individuals from particular cultures holding particular values. Thus we hope that we have dealt with the apparent contradiction in using Csikszentmihalyi’s concept in the study of games despite his criticism of such, and have provided some indication of how we can deal with unspecified rewards and the differential perception and engagement with potentially equivalent challenges while still supporting the accepted thesis of Flow.


Engaging students in OH&S hazard identification through a game

Greuter Stefan Tepe Susanne
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The Construction Industry has one of the highest rates of injury and fatality in Australia and across the world. To address this in Australia, everyone who intends to work on a construction site must complete a Construction Induction course. As Construction Students tend to be experiential learners, class room teaching is often not engaging for them. This paper describes a computer game that was developed as a classroom activity to motivate Construction Induction students to learn about hazards on construction sites and their management via application of OH&S controls. We used a test, a questionnaire and interviews to assess if contextualised game playing improved engagement supported learning and assisted with application to real world situations. Our preliminary results show that the students who played the game were engaged, and felt that through playing the game they increased their knowledge about hazards on construction sites and reinforced the learning of the material presented in the classroom. The data collected to date however does not show strong evidence that game playing made the students statistically better at recognising hazards in pictures depicting real world situations.


Balancing Three Different Foci in the Design of Serious Games: Engagement, Training Objective and Context

Frank Anders
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

Serious games aim to be both fun and playable games but at the same time be useful for a non-entertainment purpose. This poses an interesting challenge to the design process; how can we ensure that the design allows both for fun and engagement while at the same time fulfilling the nonentertainment purpose? The game design for educational games (a branch of serious games) is dependent on the topic (training objective) and under what circumstances the game will be used. We propose a pragmatic design approach where three design goals are maintained simultaneously: (1) to create an engaging game, (2) to properly cater for the training objective, and (3) to allow the training context surrounding the game to influence design decisions. We will go through a range of design issues and show how the three design goals are interdependent and how a balanced design can fulfill all three. For instance, the training objective may impede a straightforward design of rules and goals. The training context will have an affect how the challenges are constructed and the way learning through games can be carried out. To illustrate this approach the design process of Foreign Ground, a serious game for training, is presented and discussed.


“This isn’t a computer game you know!”: revisiting the computer games/televised war analogy

Swalwell Melanie
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

During the Gulf War of 1991, the television coverage was frequently observed to be ‘just like a video game’. This analogy primarily derived from the specific, ‘bombs-eye’ perspective of camera-equipped weapons, approaching their targets. The troubling nature of this coverage was said to derive from the viewer’s sense of direct involvement: the argument was that viewers were able to marvel at the ‘high tech’ nature of the weapons, at a remove from the bloody reality on the ground. These criticisms of a vicarious aesthetic (dis)engagement were taken to also characterise the playing of computer games. At a time when we have once again been confronted by TV coverage of war in the Gulf, this paper revisits the TV war/computer games nexus, informed by research on players’ engagements with games. It argues that comparisons between televised war and games have little to offer to those concerned with theorising games, at least in their current form. Research with players of games is, however, able to provide insights useful for theorising the fraughtness of watching televised war. Considered in this way, the analogy can be revealing. Drawing on previous research on players’ aesthetic engagements with games, as well as a range of other sources, this paper re-considers televisual war spectatorship, in terms of the figures of proximity/distance; here and there; negotiations between different materialities and realities; and virtuality. It proposes these figures as bases around which a more productive dialogue on computer games and televisual war might be conducted.


Schematically Disruptive Game Design

Howell Peter
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

Many games focus their resources at satiating player ‘needs’, and meeting perceived expectations that players have of how games should behave and of what constitutes enjoyable, gratifying gameplay. This paper outlines an alternate position on game design – one which focuses on disrupting these expectations, on designing games that players cannot succeed in simply by relying on their pre-acquired gameplay experiences. A critique of current game design trends is offered, and possible future outcomes of these trends analysed. The proposed framework for ‘Schematically Disruptive Design’ is discussed in relation to the current body of literature, alongside a justification of taking a development-led, horror-focused approach to this research programme. The current position of the research and intended direction of study is lastly outlined, along with the intended application of future results.