Playing for Togetherness - Designing for Interaction Rituals through Gaming
Abstract: Can design facilitate togetherness through games? Seeing the outcomes of a successful interaction ritual – positive emotional energy and a sense of group solidarity – as the main components of the togetherness of games, this thesis seeks to shed light on how design can improve the use of games as vehicles of interaction. The thesis combines six different articles on games, gaming and gamers; the articles illuminate the different ingredients of the interaction ritual afforded by playing games and covers digital-, board- and tabletop role-playing games. The methods used are artefact analysis, observation and reflexive interviewing. The two articles on games; Exploring Aesthetic Ideals of Gameplay and Exploring Aesthetical Gameplay Design Patterns – Camaraderie in Four Games focus on gameplay aesthetics and present a way of looking at the underlying game-mechanical foundations of gameplay aesthetics – the experiential aspect of the meeting between the player and the rules. The former introduces the concept of aesthetic gameplay ideals and the latter explores this further through the use of design patterns. The two articles on gaming; Undercurrents – A Computer-based Gameplay Tool to Support Tabletop Role-playing and Framing Storytelling with Games look at tools to support gameplay and provide a concrete example of how superfluous work during play can be reduced, leaving more time and energy to the core activity. The former is a description of the produced prototype and its design process; the latter expands upon earlier research and outlines some additional theoretical quandaries when supporting complex storytelling activities. The two articles on gamers; The Implicit Rules of Board Games – On the particulars of the lusory agreement and Creativity Rules – How rules impact player creativity in three tabletop role-playing games focus on the rules and the gamer, and delve into the complex social structures surrounding the play of games, as well as how communication on different attitudes when it comes to rules are important to create congruent gaming groups. The former looks at board games and the latter at the practise of tabletop role-playing, both placing emphasis upon the fact that the printed rules of a game artefact only constitute part of the gaming agreement. Together with a research summary outlining how gaming can be viewed as an interaction ritual from a design perspective, this work also aims at shortening the divide between gamer and designer, providing both with frameworks for communicating on interaction with games.
This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.