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.


An Impression of Home: Player Nostalgia and the Impulse to Explore Game Worlds

Sloan Robin J. S.
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

In this paper I argue that there is a need for game studies to look beyond nostalgia as a period style or form of remediation, and to more carefully consider the role of nostalgia as an affective state experienced by players. Specifically, I argue that nostalgia is a positive emotional response that can be elicited in players without the need to embed period or historical referents in games. Extending this, I argue that the experience of nostalgia might enhance player motivation to explore game spaces, which has repercussions for game design. This paper makes use of existing literature on the psychology and aesthetic qualities of nostalgia to develop an initial theoretical basis for the study. To explore the implications of affective nostalgia, a case study analysis of two recent games is presented. Both of these games are dependent upon player motivation to explore their game worlds.


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.