Sites of Play: Locating Gameplace in Red Dead Redemption 2

Westerside Andrew Holopainen Jussi
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

In Video Game Spaces (2009), Michael Nitsche proposes three indicators of ‘placeness’ in video games: identity, self-motivated and self-organised action, and traces of memory (191-201). We read this notion of placeness as closely aligned to, or overlapping with, the understandings of place and site articulated in theatre and performance research as site-specific performance. Here, we articulate the ideas (and analyse the experiences) of placeness and sitedness in Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) through an analytical conversation between performance studies and games design research with a human-computer interaction bias. Through a close-reading of gameplay experiences (Bizzocchi and Tanenbaum, 2011), we individually experienced over 30 hours of RDR2 gameplay while taking notes, recording, and capturing screenshots. During our individual analyses, we met periodically to compare notes, discuss notable game moments and share analytical insights. At this intersection of game research and performance research, we ask to what extent the theoretical articulations of aesthetic/affective experience in physical, corporeal and material spaces can develop – and further nuance – our understanding of how place is experienced (and thus designed) in contemporary videogames. In doing so, we propose the term gameplace as a means of articulating what this article will define as the affective relationship between place, experience and play.


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.


Fictionalism and videogame aggression

Tavinor Grant
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

Videogames undoubtedly contain a great deal of apparent violence and aggression. This depictive content has frequently led to both public moral condemnation and the scientific investigation of the possible effects games have on aggression and violence beyond the context of gaming. This paper is not concerned with either the moral or the empirical questions of the effects of game violence, rather it concerns a conceptual problem with the analysis of in-game aggression. The frequently unacknowledged status of almost all videogames as fictions has important implications for our understanding of the content of games and the attitude of players toward it, and has proved a very poor starting point for understanding the function of apparently aggressive and violent gameplay. This paper investigates how the fictional nature of videogames affects the analysis of game aggression and violence, both undermining various assumptions of scientific accounts of game violence, but also leading to promising avenues of investigating the role of fictional aggression in gameplay.


Fundamental Components of the Gameplay Experience: Analysing Immersion

Ermi Laura Mäyrä Frans
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

This paper presents a gameplay experience model, assesses its potential as a tool for research and presents some directions for future work. The presented model was born from observations among game-playing children and their non-player parents, which directed us to have a closer look at the complex nature of gameplay experience. Our research led into a heuristic gameplay experience model that identifies some of the key components and processes that are relevant in the experience of gameplay, with a particular focus on immersion. The model includes three components: sensory, challenge-based and imaginative immersion (SCI-model). The classification was assessed with self-evaluation questionnaires filled in by informants who played different popular games. It was found that the gameplay experiences related to these games did indeed differ as expected in terms of the identified three immersion components.


A Cognitive Psychological Approach to Gameplay Emotions

Perron Bernard
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

Although emotions elicited by the fictional world or the artefact play a part in story-driven video games, they are certainly not the focus of the experience. From a cognitive psychological perspective, this paper studies the appraisal and action dimensions of emotions arising from gameplay. As it relies on cognitive film theories about popular narrative movies, it also revisits their conceptual sources in order to better reflect on the specificity of those gameplay emotions.