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Stefano Gualeni - Game design as a self-transformative practice

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Through the design of educational or otherwise transformative experiences, the designers self-fashion themselves in ways and in directions that are analogous to those that they intended to elicit in the recipient of their work. In this paper, originally presented at the 2015 Philosophy of Computer Games Conference in Berlin, discusses a pilot study that we conducted in 2014 at the University of Malta. Our experiments inaugurate and offer an initial validation to the field game design as an effective context for education and social change.

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Stefano Gualeni - Game design as a self-transformative practice

  1. 1. …throughgamedesign
  2. 2. Stefano Gualeni -stefano.gualeni@um.edu.mt-
  3. 3. MikroMortalTennis(1995) 4
  4. 4. (1998-2005) 5
  5. 5. DangerousHeaven(2006) 6
  6. 6. TheUnfinishedSwan(2011) 7
  7. 7. Gua-Le-Ni(2012) 8
  8. 8. …throughgamedesign
  9. 9. IMPLICITATTITUDES: Implicit attitudes are automatic (pre-conscious) judgments through which a subject evaluates of anobjectorasituation. Theycanbepositiveornegative.
  10. 10. A positive automatic association with sugary and unhealthy foods can have a number of causes (family, culture, food representation in media & advertisements,etc.)
  11. 11. B.S.I.HYPOTHESIS: A positive implicit attitude towards sugary and fatty food is a key factor in the development of teenage obesityintheWesternworld.
  12. 12. Take a group of overweight teenagers and make their attitudetowardsunhealthyfoodlesspositive. Then observe if that transformation corresponds with achangeintheireatingbehaviors(andweight). TRANSFORMATIVEVIDEOGAMES*
  13. 13. An interesting challenge for my M.Sc. students in GameDesignattheUniversityofMalta! 1) EVALUATIVECONDITIONING 2) ATTENTIONALBIAS 3) GO/NO-GOPARADIGM
  14. 14. INCREASE THE PLAYERS’ IAT SCORES (more positive towardshealthyfood,lesstowardsfatty,sugaryfood)
  15. 15. …andgamescanbepowerfulalliesof scientificresearch!
  16. 16. TRANSFORMATIVEPRACTICES Transformative practices are activities that are deliberately designed to provoke or facilitate specific psychological, cognitive, behavioral,orconvinctionaleffects.
  17. 17. TRANSFORMATIVEPRACTICES TRANSFORMATIVEVIDEOGAMES*
  18. 18. TRANSFORMATIVEPRACTICES
  19. 19. TRANSFORMATIVEPRACTICES
  20. 20. In my latest work, I do not address the transformational qualities that (video)gameshaveontheirplayers… What happens to the designers, when they are engaged in the processes of designing a gamethatistransformativefortheplayers? TRANSFORMATIVEPRACTICES BUTONTHEGAMEDESIGNERSTHEMSELVES!
  21. 21. Game design is explored as a ‘technology of theself’,asaself-transformativepractice.
  22. 22. CONCEPTUAL BASIS: during the process of structuring transformative experiences for somebody, we inherently develop and refineourownsensitivityandknowledge.
  23. 23. SELF-TRANSFORMATIVEVIDEOGAMES
  24. 24. MYHYPOTHESIS:intheprocessofdesigninga (video)game with transformational goals for its audience – the designers inevitably self- fashion themselves in ways and in directions thatareanalogoustothosethattheyintended toelicitintherecipientsoftheirwork.
  25. 25. “There is a greater liberation potential in designing games rather than playing games.”
  26. 26. MYHYPOTHESIS:intheprocessofdesigninga (video)game with transformational goals for its audience – the designers inevitably self- fashion themselves in ways and in directions thatareanalogoustothosethattheyintended toelicitintherecipientsoftheirwork.
  27. 27. WETRACKEDTHEDESIGNERS’OWNIMPLICITATTITUDES TOWARDSFOODDURINGTHEDESIGNPROCESS!
  28. 28. BRIEF/RELATIONSHIPWITHTHECLIENT RESEARCH(bibliographic,experimental…) CONCEPTUALIZATION(andfeedback) ITERATION(testing,redesign,feedback) QUALITYASSURANCE/TUNING NINESTUDENTS(7DESIGNING,2CONTROL)
  29. 29. Subjectwiththemostimprovedscore
  30. 30. Subjectwiththemostdecreasedscore
  31. 31. The group that designed food-related transformative games improved its IAT results during the design process.Theothertwosubjectsbothdecreasedit.
  32. 32. Q1: Did the students’ implicit attitudes towards food change during the process of designingatransformativevideogame? A1: Our answer is a tentative ‘yes’, which encouragesmoreresearch. Q2: Is there a correlation between the students’ changes in their implicit attitude towards healthyfoodsandchangesintheirweight? -RESEARCHQUESTIONS-
  33. 33. Subject2wasthebiggestloser(-6kg)
  34. 34. Subject6wasthebiggestgainer(+4kg)
  35. 35. The first group lost weight (- 7Kg), while the second gained 6 Kg, suggesting the existence of some correlationbetweenchangesinIAT&changesinweight.
  36. 36. Albeit not conclusively, our hypothesis seems to beconfirmed(lesssureabouttheweight). Future research will hopefully clarify for which transformative and educational activities the design of games and videogames can suitably and effectivelyfunctionasaself-fashioningpractice. -CONCLUSIONS-

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