Monday, March 19, 2012


Today you discussed various game definitions based on Jesper Juul's work and you learned how to pronounce the name of one of the most influential play theorists: Johan Huizinga. Also, we discussed the magic circle and how considering it can help you create radical games. Lastly, through the Madness session you got feedback from everyone in the room on your most recent Radical Game idea.

Homework for next Monday:

  1. Comment on the class below: what did you learn? How does it help you design more radical games?
  2. Prepare your game for Monday, it will be an ongoing game exhibition!
  3. You will also need a webpage and a video for your game. I said you will also need a paper, but for now, you do not need to write a full paper, but an abstract that you put on your webpage for the game please.

Here is how to write this abstract:

An abstract is usually <150 words and consists of 5 sentences:

  • Motivation:
    Why do we care about the game? This is where your learnings from gaining empathy comes in: games are always designed for a reason and for someone. Thinking about these might help articulate the motivation for your work.
    Example: Games that support exertion can help address the obesity epidemic.    
  • Problem statement:
    What problem are you trying to solve with your game? Even though games often do not seem to solve a problem, they do: this can be ranging from preventing the player from getting bored, to you opening designers' eyes on what games could be if they would only listening to you.
    Example: The problem with Exertion Games is that although people enjoy them, they do not play them for long enough to experience health benefits. 
  • Approach:
    How did you go about solving or making progress on the problem? You can answer this by articulating why the novelty of your game helps you make your point. Why did you have to create a new, novel game, instead of just buying one to solve your problem?
    Example: In order to address the problem, we designed an Exertion Game that supports long-term use to demonstrate that this is possible.  
  • Results:
    What's the answer? What have you learned from designing your radical game? This is your contribution.
    Example: Our experience of designing the game suggests that 3 aspects are important when designing for long-term use of exertion games: easy to understand high-scores, more bosses than in non-exertion games and offering players calorie counters. 
  • Conclusions:
    What are the implications of your answer? Is it going to change the world (unlikely), be a significant "win", be a nice hack, or simply serve as a road sign indicating that this path is a waste of time (all of the previous results are useful). Are your results general, potentially generalizable, or specific to a particular case?
    Example: In conclusion, our work can help designers create better exertion games, which means players profit more from the benefits of playing these games. 

Inspired by the advice on how to write a good abstract.

As an example, this is what Chad and Josh wrote for Bubble Popper (this is a bit too long):

Exertion games, digital games that involve physical effort, are becoming more popular. Although some of these games support social experiences, they do not consider nor support body contact, mostly due to technical limitations. We believe ignoring body contact as part of a social play experience limits the richness of exertion games. To explore this design space, we present Bubble Popper, an exertion game centred on a merged physical-virtual space that supports considering and facilitating body contact. This is achieved without the need for sensing body contact, hence Bubble Popper also demonstrates how to consider and facilitate body contact with very simple technology. Through reflecting on our design process and play observations we analysed what impact physical space, screen size and physical disparity between input and digital display can have on body contact and how to design games that aim to consider and facilitate it. Our results aid game designers creating richer exertion game experiences, supporting players profiting from the benefits of playing these games.