Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
0
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Games Colonialism: Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design

25,294

Published on

Games are uniquely pliable systems. They can be used to generate empathy towards a situation by allowing players to inhabit parts of a topic, and contextualize the larger issue from a personalized …

Games are uniquely pliable systems. They can be used to generate empathy towards a situation by allowing players to inhabit parts of a topic, and contextualize the larger issue from a personalized perspective.

In leveraging games to impact environmental, social and economic issues, games are taken to a variety of unfamiliar cultures where game elements inhabit very different roles from those in the west, resulting in a new form of colonialism. In this 15 minute presentation, I elaborate on the assumptions that social impact game proponents bring to the field of games and humanitarian work and the problems that arise as a result of them.

As co-founder of a game design studio that makes games for beneficiaries of humanitarian organizations, I’m perpetually confronting the challenge of increasing popularization of games as a method of communication amid the lack of best practices for using them in these fraught arenas.

Game based learning is fast replacing the hackneyed workshop format, the core intended recipients of which are either small communal groups entrenched in folk customs and traditional belief systems, or impoverished urban communities. When constructing interactive communication tools (such as games) for such a diverse group, it is necessary to study their cultural morés and social etiquette to find common themes that can be used to encourage empathy towards the topic. In this situation games are used as metaphors to explain the topic presented, and since effective metaphors are analogous to the audience, it is important to chose efficient analogies. By choosing an analogy that is negative to that community, such as dice which are solely associated with gambling in many cultures, the reach of the game is reduced, impacting the effectiveness of the overall project goals.

A second impediment to constructing effective game-interactions on a community level is the process of project development. From experience in the humanitarian sector dealing with climate change, games are vetted by a hierarchy of scientists, project managers, and administrative staff. All of whom have a deep understanding of the core topic being represented though the games, but have completely different cultural expectations from the medium of games. As a result, the end product is finessed and tailored to satisfy a target audience that has very little in common to the end-audience.

Humanitarian organizations have an existing culture of talking down to these communities instead of talking with them. Aid constructs a hierarchy of givers and receivers, where the receiver is seen as a victim needing help, but incapable of providing any input into the process.

What steps can organizations take to overcome these challenges? What is the relevance of games to cross cultural humanitarian and social justice work given these limitations? What considerations should be taken by designers when creating these types of games?

5 Comments
30 Likes
Statistics
Notes
No Downloads
Views
Total Views
25,294
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
13
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
53
Comments
5
Likes
30
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. GAMES COLONIALISM Cultural Assumptions in Serious Game Design
  • 2. Who am I?
  • 3. MOHINI DUTTA
  • 4. MOHINI DUTTA I am Indian
  • 5. MOHINI DUTTA I am Indian I got into games in NYC
  • 6. MOHINI DUTTA I am Indian I got into games in NYC At Parsons,
  • 7. I make Serious Games
  • 8. I make Serious Games
  • 9. I use them to Explain complex ideas
  • 10. I use them to Explain complex ideas Begin a conversation
  • 11. I use them to Explain complex ideas Begin a conversation Get folks to care about stuff
  • 12. SUMMER 2012
  • 13. SUMMER 2012 INDONESIA PHILIPPINES KENYA
  • 14. GOAL 1/ INTRODUCE SERIOUS GAMES
  • 15. GOAL 2/ HELP LOCAL NGO’S INCREASE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT USING GAMES
  • 16. We started with some physical games, and everyone was into it
  • 17. THEN SOMETHING WEIRD HAPPENED
  • 18. One of the games had a ton of dice
  • 19. …suddenly, folks got weird…
  • 20. Many Indonesians are Muslim
  • 21. Gambling is a very serious sin in Islam
  • 22. DICE=GAMBLING
  • 23. GAMBLING=DAMNATION
  • 24. How did we not realize this??
  • 25. We are playing a betting game here
  • 26. OMG, 2 OF THE 3 GAMES ARE GAMBLING STYLE
  • 27. Initial excitement about games slowly turns to wary concern
  • 28. THIS IS TERRIBLE!
  • 29. So, were the games bad?
  • 30. Nope, these folks got into it
  • 31. But this is the Philippines, they have a more western culture
  • 32. GAMBLING IS NO BIGGIE HERE
  • 33. So does that mean that Indonesians have no Game Culture?
  • 34. We must teach them our games. Enlighten them.
  • 35. Hold that thought
  • 36. COLONIALISM The practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another.
  • 37. GAMES COLONIALISM The practice of domination, which involves the cultural subjugation of one people to the memes of another.
  • 38. !?@!##
  • 39. One group uses it’s media (games in this case) to prioritize it’s cultural tastes and make it the norm for everyone.
  • 40. So when another culture doesn’t relate to yours, it isn’t your fault, it is theirs.
  • 41. And now it is your responsibility to teach them the “proper” way
  • 42. US THEM
  • 43. THE othering of diverse voices leaves the dominant voice with the quick, dismissive excuse
  • 44. THEY just don’t get it.
  • 45. But surely games don’t do that. They are fun!
  • 46. Games are serious business.
  • 47. We can have a cultural impact. We can effect how people think about things FARMERAMA’s digital drought on World Drought Day
  • 48. Let’s revisit Indonesia, remember their little issue with gambling. SO DOES THAT MEAN INDONESIANS HAVE NO GAME CULTURE?
  • 49. THEY JUST HAVE A DIFFERENT CULTURE OF PLAY Beach Pencak Silat 2008 Asian Beach Games, Bali, Indonesia.
  • 50. MOMENT OF TRUTH
  • 51. I AM A COLONIALIST
  • 52. Gandhi must be turning in his grave...
  • 53. I participated in this cycle of cultural oppression by failing to recognize the problem.
  • 54. My own game design practice is so tied in with western-style game culture, that I just couldn’t see beyond it.
  • 55. LET’S DO A LITTLE EXERCISE.
  • 56. You are a farmer in South Sulawesi You had it good for generations.
  • 57. EVERY. SINGLE. SEASON.
  • 58. Your traditional forecasting methods are all off. But you don’t know why
  • 59. Because climate science is complicated, and you can’t understand it.
  • 60. Some people come by sometimes, and try to explain why it keeps flooding
  • 61. But all you understand from them is PLANT MORE MANGROVES
  • 62. But all you understand from them is PLANT MORE MANGROVES & DON’T CUT THE TREES!
  • 63. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?? It makes no sense to you.
  • 64. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?? It makes no sense to you. That timber feeds your family when the floods take all the rice crop.
  • 65. They use some big words to tell you why it is all so important
  • 66. They use some big words to tell you why it is all so important But you don’t really understand any of it.
  • 67. They use some big words to tell you why it is all so important But you don’t really understand any of it. They have charts, but they look boring.
  • 68. They use some big words to tell you why it is all so important But you don’t really understand any of it. They have charts, but they look boring. Plus, you are sleepy now.
  • 69. Well, this was a waste of time.
  • 70. Well, this was a waste of time. You mostly came here for the free food.
  • 71. Well, this was a waste of time. You mostly came here for the free food. …and most of it is gone already.
  • 72. Well, this was a waste of time. You mostly came here for the free food. …and most of it is gone already. So you doze off for the rest of it.
  • 73. GAMES CAN HELP.
  • 74. GAMES CAN HELP. Participants can embody the system and understand cause and effect.
  • 75. GAMES CAN HELP. Participants can embody the system and understand cause and effect. Instead of passively sitting and listening to science jargon
  • 76. GAMES CAN HELP. Participants can embody the system and understand cause and effect. Instead of passively sitting and listening to science jargon This can be empowering!
  • 77. But when this happens: …and we use the wrong interface for the wrong audience
  • 78. It reduces the experience to moral anxiety.
  • 79. It reduces the experience to moral anxiety. And makes the facilitators appear callous and uninterested
  • 80. THE MESSAGE SENT IS: We don’t understand your culture
  • 81. THE MESSAGE SENT IS: We don’t understand your culture …and we don’t care.
  • 82. THE MESSAGE SENT IS: We don’t understand your culture …and we don’t care. We know better, and that’s all you need to know.
  • 83. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
  • 84. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? A large part of popular game culture is predominantly American or Eurocentric.
  • 85. HOW ARE SERIOUS GAMES GETTING MADE?
  • 86. HOW ARE SERIOUS GAMES GETTING MADE? Western funding for fund western designers to make games for a third party.
  • 87. WHY IS THAT RELEVANT? Western style games use dice/cards ubiquitously It is a stylistic choice that influences the design of these games.
  • 88. THE SYSTEMIC ISSUES Game Designers work in cultural isolation from their end user.
  • 89. THE SYSTEMIC ISSUES Game Designers work in cultural isolation from their end user. Content experts are academics who are also far removed from interacting with the end user.
  • 90. THE SYSTEMIC ISSUES So does anyone verify the effectively of these games with the end user?
  • 91. THE SYSTEMIC ISSUES So does anyone verify the effectively of these games with the end user? Not really.
  • 92. THE SYSTEMIC ISSUES So does anyone verify the effectively of these games with the end user? Not really. So the entire workflow is based on assumptions about the target audience’s culture.
  • 93. THE SYSTEMIC ISSUES So does anyone verify the effectively of these games with the end user? Not really. So the entire workflow is based on assumptions about the target audience’s culture. Yup.
  • 94. WE ASSUME IT WORKS FOR THEM External aid is a hierarchal system Composed of “Givers” and “Receivers”
  • 95. WE ASSUME IT WORKS FOR THEM, This system rewards the ACT of giving more than the actual content of the gift So, critique of the aid provided is unusual.
  • 96. REMEMBER THIS DEBACLE?
  • 97. SO, WE ARE MAKING GAMES FOR OURSELVES?
  • 98. SO, WE ARE MAKING GAMES FOR OURSELVES? Pretty much.
  • 99. AND THEY ARE BEST AT MAKING US FEEL BETTER ABOUT HAVING HELPED?
  • 100. AND THEY ARE BEST AT MAKING US FEEL BETTER ABOUT HAVING HELPED? Not quite, but basically.
  • 101. BUT DON’T WE ALSO NEED TO UNDERSTAND AND EMPATHIZE WITH THE PEOPLE WE ARE TRYING TO HELP?
  • 102. THE ISSUE IS, RIGHT NOW THE END USER IS THE LAST PRIORITY Sure, but then let’s make games meant to do just that.
  • 103. THE ISSUE IS, RIGHT NOW THE END USER IS THE LAST PRIORITY But that’s just bad design!
  • 104. THE ISSUE IS, RIGHT NOW THE END USER IS THE LAST PRIORITY But that’s just bad design! Think of the target audience!
  • 105. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
  • 106. SERIOUS GAMES, DON’T BE SUCKY! Be awesome!
  • 107. CLOSING THOUGHTS Be self-aware Be Critical Listen before you teach. Don’t make excuses for games that fail Accept your shortcomings Fix them.
  • 108. THANK YOU! Mohini Dutta mohini@playistheantidote.com

×