Playing or Being Played? Choice and Agency in Videogames: Reflecting on The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (2016)

Kleinerman Danielle
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

This paper interrogates how the videogame medium produces an engrossing and complex spectatorial experience, consistently challenging the user’s dimension of engagement. A reflexive analysis of the Witcher III: Wild Hunt (2016) encompasses a principal methodology; considering how play, spectatorship, and engagement merge into one. This paper homes in on how narrative directions and choices manipulate the will of the player, facilitated by preconceived and ongoing spectatorial influences. Semiotics, narratology, cinematography, ludology, and focalization theories fortify a conclusion that deconstructs the inherent fallacy present in narrative-based ludic choices, uncovering that their presence is a more an upholding of an inherent hegemonic structure and its boundaries.


Between Pleasure and Power: Game Design Patterns In Clickbait Ludoporn

Passmore Cale Harrer Sabine Spiel Katta
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Despite its pervasiveness and prosperity in online spaces, the genre of playable online pornog- raphy, or ludoporn, has received little scholarly attention both in Human-Computer Interac- tion (HCI), Games Studies, and Porn Studies. In this paper, we discuss clickbait ludoporn as a hybrid design genre bridging games and pornography as they are offered for free on online platforms. We develop a tentative taxonomy of common design features, analysing game mechanics in terms of the libidinal investments and sexual pleasures promoted to players. Our analysis is based on a sample of 18 games retrieved from three different platforms. We suggest that the design of clickbait ludoporn mechanics incorporate mainstream approaches to sexuality, intimacy, and corporeality with fundamental consequences on how pleasure is culturally produced, articulated and normalised. We close on a call for game researchers and designers to claim the space of clickbait ludoporn with transformative intent.


“Sometimes I Like Killing as a Treat”: Children’s Transgressive Play in Minecraft

Mavoa Jane Gibbs Martin Nansen Bjorn
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Children’s play in digital spaces is often discussed in popular discourse and in academia in terms of what kind of effect it may be having on children. One area of concern is the relationship between ‘violent videogames’ and real-world violence. However, little is known about how children actually play in digitally mediated play spaces including Minecraft which offers sandbox style free-play and does not necessarily involve any prescribed violence. We have collected recordings of 6-8-year-old children’s leisure time Minecraft play and used a taxonomic system of play types to describe the range of play observed. Some observed play did not fit neatly into any of the play types. In this paper we describe one such instance of play which involved unprovoked violence and draw on a range of literature in the process of conceptualizing this play as Transgressive. This paper provides much needed knowledge of children’s Minecraft play as it occurs in situ.


Playing as Travelling: At the Border of Leisure and Learning

Bjarnason Nökkvi Jarl
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

The aim of this article is to develop an interpretive framework based on the concept of travel, exploring the limits of play as a meaningful activity. By comparing how the concept of travel has been applied to literature and cinema, it becomes possible to discern how the interest of gameplay and travel can be said to align in novel ways, reconceptualising relatively immobile players as moving travellers and assigning them stake in the transformative properties often attributed to travel. It will be held that modern perspectives on travel share an affinity with the medium of games as a venue for action and that this element of games, in turn, generates a sense of presence relative to travel. Examining this intersection, situates the study of games at the borders of leisure and learning, challenging traditional divisions between leisure and selfcultivation, all the while engaging with games as a part of wide-ranging cultural phenomena.