Towards Genre as a Game Design Research Approach

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DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference
Melbourne, Australia: Digital Games Research Association, July, 2017
Number: 1
Volume: 14
ISBN / ISNN: ISSN 2342-9666


Game design research is a growing field within game studies. Design in research, however, raises new questions. What should game design research investigate? How generalizable should its claims be? Considering the ‘ultimate particular’ of design, this paper explores how design research should investigate particular demarcations of works. This paper suggests genre as an approach in game design research, arguing that genres meaningfully, albeit reflexively, demarcate ‘likenesses’ worth investigation. Genre demarcations can be used to ground and orient research; lists of genre-games and informal descriptions suggest, what to, and how to, investigate genre, respectively. However, scholarly propositions of genres are necessary to support research. These propositions must make explicit, contestable, and substantive designerly claims about that genre, such as design values, structural patterns, and aesthetics, laying a scholarly foundation for future claims. These foundations support scholarly tradition in game design research by providing a context to ground, situate and disseminate findings.