A Reality Game to Cross Disciplines: Fostering Networks and Collaboration

Stokes Benjamin Watson Jeff Fullerton Tracy Wiscombe Simon
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The rise of reality gaming introduces a new possibility: that games can directly shape real-world networks, even as they educate. Network relations and skills are associated with career growth, educational attainment and even civic participation. Using methods of network analysis, this paper investigates the game "Reality Ends Here" over two years. The semester-long game is designed for freshmen university students, and is deliberately kept underground, which is rare in education. The game fosters multimedia production by small student groups, with hundreds of team submissions created each semester. This paper seeks to advance the formative use of network analysis for games that address human capital in education. Findings confirm that a player’s network centrality correlates with their game score. Team formation was biased by gender and academic discipline, but appears within acceptable levels. Implications are discussed for how game performance can be tied to various network indicators.


In Defence of a Magic Circle: The Social and Mental Boundaries of Play

Stenros Jaakko
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

This article reviews the history of the concept of the magic circle, its criticism and the numerous other metaphors that have been used to capture the zone of play or the border that surrounds it, such as world, frame, bubble, net, screen, reality, membrane, zone, environment, or attitude. The various conceptions of social and mental borders are reviewed and separated from the sites where cultural residue of such borders is encountered. Finally, a model is forwarded where the psychological bubble of playfulness, the social contract of the magic circle and the spatial, temporal or product- based arena are separated.


Tackling the Metaphor-Simulation Dilemma

Möring Sebastian
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

This paper presents a couple of observations on the use of the concept of metaphor in game studies: Firstly, often when authors use the concept of metaphor this appears in conceptual and textual proximity to simulation. Secondly, the concept of metaphor is often applied to signify seemingly abstract games and to form thereby an opposition to mimetic simulations. Thirdly, definitions applied for simulation as well as for metaphor are strikingly similar. As such this paper discusses in a first step respective examples from the field of game studies in order to develop an understanding how the terms metaphor and simulation are used there. In a second step it presents what is here called the “metaphor-simulation dilemma” which shows that the definitions of both concepts are strikingly similar. From these observations I will derive and demonstrate what I call the metaphor-simulation dilemma. Finally, I will argue based on a narrow understanding of metaphor to consider simulations always already as metonyms and thereby challenge the assumption that especially abstract simulations are metaphors. Furthermore, I will challenge the assumption that simulations required a similarity between the simulating and the simulated with Frasca’s sign-based definition of a simulation and comments on this. And finally I will explore a condition which enables us to speak of a metaphoric simulation.


Play: A Procrustean Probe

Tyler Tom
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

The brigand Procrustes dispatched his victims by stretching or trimming their bodies in order that they be made to fit his bed. Considered as a scientific theory, McLuhan’s four “laws of media” risk violating research in a dangerously Procrustean manner. Conceived as an exploratory probe, however, his “tetrad” can provide illuminating insights into the social and psychological effects of individual technologies. Applied to digital games, the tetrad reveals the particular ways in which this distinctive cultural form enhances diverse modes of play, obsolesces traditional television viewing, retrieves lost means of participation, and reverses into pervasive and persistent play. The tetrad helps us to situate play within the broader technological and cultural environment.


Supporting Communities in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games by Game Design

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

Communities get formed almost automatically in multiplayer games, but in some games they seem to be stronger and more active than in others. In order to find out why it is so, We study in this paper what kind of game design makes game community formation and maintenance easier in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG). Three MMORPGs are used as examples: Ultima Online, Anarchy Online and Toontown Online. The communication methods, game mechanics and environments of the three MMORPGs are compared and their effects on the game community are analyzed. Communities do not exist without communication. Game mechanics affects how important it is for the players to co-operate and compete with others and how useful it is to form different kinds of sub-communities, such as guilds. If the game supports player created content it typically strengthens the game community. The game environment provides settings for player-to-player interaction and can encourage collaboration and inspire the players to create their own stories around the sub-communities.


Just a Cyberplace The rules in videogames: between Ontology and Epistemology

Mosca Ivan
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

In this essay you will find a theory about the relation of videogames and rules. The analysis illustrates the Social Ontology Project founded by John Searle and introduces some new concepts, such as Gameframe, Cyberplace and Interactive Figmentum. After some theoretical arguments you will find a double grill to categorize player types regarding to rules.


Research as Design-Design as Research

Stapleton Andrew J.
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

This paper details a research methodology that emerged during an inquiry into game design aimed at promoting conceptual learning in physics. The methodology, Research as Design-Design as Research (RADDAR), is outlined and a case study example is provided as means to illustrate its application.


From real-world data to game world experience: Social analysis methods for developing plausible & engaging learning games

Dobson Mike Ha Daniel Mulligan Desmond Ciavarro Chad
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

This paper is based on work to develop an interactive learning game called HEALTHSIMNET that is meant for improving practice in a health care network. It considers three selected models for analysis of documentary data acquired during semi-structured interviews with participants of a network of health practitioners in the HIV field. The paper briefly reviews the expansive theory of learning but mainly explains how the three techniques can yield interactive narrative. We end with a description of the game and a discussion of the extent to which games developed using this method can be said to sustain the kind of learning described by activity theory.