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MINDFUL 
PLAY 
THE POLITICS OF 
DESIGNING FOR 
THE OTHER
by: 
mohini 
dutta 
@freyadutta
@freyadutta 
What does it mean to design for the OTHER?
Who is the OTHER? @freyadutta 
This is me
Who is the OTHER? @freyadutta 
These are some 
cute pandas
Who is the OTHER? @freyadutta 
NOT A 
PANDA !_!
@freyadutta 
Narcissistic Red Pandas! 
...not all pandas are alike! 
Playground Panda! 
Adventure 
Pandas!
@freyadutta 
The OTHER is not a homogenous group
Pandas @freyadutta 
All endangered animals 
VS
@freyadutta 
DESIGNING FOR THE 
“OTHER” 
IS A DISINGENUOUS 
PROPOSITION.
@freyadutta 
There is nothing 
about being 
'female' that 
naturally binds 
women 
Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 
OTHER == Commodity 
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 
@freyadutta
@freyadutta 
The other occupies a cultural space 
outside of ours
@freyadutta 
We, as designers, 
embody the SELF.
@freyadutta 
We design games that WE want to 
play.
@freyadutta 
Games are a celebration of the 
SELF
As consumers of games: 
we are trained to focus on our 
own experience as paramount. 
As designers: we are trained to 
mea...
The 
unconscious 
is the 
discourse of 
the Other. 
@freyadutta 
Jacques Lacan
BIG OTHER 
@freyadutta 
little other 
Jacques Lacan 
The Alien 
OTHER 
Projection of 
the SELF
@freyadutta 
WE HAVE BEEN 
DESIGNING FOR THE 
little other
@freyadutta 
The flaw in our design strategy so 
far has been working with commonality 
VS 
embracing the alien, the unfam...
@freyadutta
@freyadutta 
PURPOSE! 
GOALS!
@freyadutta 
Even an abstract game like Tetris tasks the 
player with creating order from chaotically 
falling blocks by m...
@freyadutta 
Games are haikus for expressing 
the chaotic narrative of life
@freyadutta 
Games provide a terrain from 
which meaning can emerge 
Image/Panoramical 
by Fernando Ramallo & David Kanaga
@freyadutta 
The politics of representation are 
the rules of the poetry of games
image/ Vincent Ocasla’s @freyadutta 
Magnasanti, SimCity 2000 
Achieved at the cost of social repression and totalitarian ...
@freyadutta 
Is ennui the great 
Cthulhic horror of our 
privileged times? 
MEH
@freyadutta 
To counter the mixed 
feelings and 
groundless despair 
that might greet such 
an era, we need to get 
there ...
@freyadutta 
Estragon: Nothing to be 
done. 
Vladimir: I'm beginning to 
come round to that 
opinion. 
Samuel Beckett, Wai...
@freyadutta 
All is well! 
One must 
imagine 
Sisyphus 
happy. 
Albert Camus, The Myth of 
Sisyphus
Rapture no longer haunts me. I got the help I needed, @freyadutta 
or at least am getting it. While playing BioShock 
Infi...
@freyadutta Tarot Card Deck
@freyadutta 
Why are we making 
meaning for 
others? 
Why aren't we 
letting them make 
meaning for 
themselves? 
Where’s ...
INTENTIONS != EFFECT 
@freyadutta
@freyadutta 
The White Savior Industrial 
Complex is not about 
justice. It is about having 
a big emotional experience 
t...
@freyadutta 
Tomb Raider: Underworld 
Ruins provide an aesthetic setting that matches the core 
idea behind most games: To...
@freyadutta 
How to iterate with an invisible 
audience?
@freyadutta
@freyadutta 
How DO we design 
games for Others?
@freyadutta 
How DO we design 
games for Others? 
WE Don't
MINDFUL PLAY
PLAY AS CONVERSATION 
VS 
INSTRUCTION
Ask not what fun does for you. Ask rather what you do for fun. 
”Bernie DeKoven
PLAY AS DIAGNOSTIC 
VS 
GAMES AS CURES
You never change 
things by fighting 
existing reality. To 
change something build 
a new model that makes 
the existing m...
CAN SHARING OUR TOYS TEACH US NEW WAYS TO 
PLAY WITH THEM?
Game-making Workshop
Playing games together and having fun 
= 
MOST IMPORTANT PART
Sharing what Games CAN do, 
vs what Games do
Games are more than their rules, they are 
means of self-expression
BOO! BOO! 
SCARY! 
GAMES CAN APPEAR TO BE 
Marceline the Vampire Queen, Adventure Time, Cartoon 
Network
Super awesome fun! 
when you understand them! 
BUT THEY ARE NOT! 
They are 
Marceline the Vampire Queen, Adventure Time, C...
MAKING games makes the “OTHERED” group an 
active participant in their (intended) 
emancipation
To give an Author to a 
text is to impose upon 
that text a stop 
clause, to furnish it 
with a final 
signification, to 
...
@freyadutta 
Instead of stopping at 
intention, 
let us move on & embrace the 
creation of conversations of 
consequence.
MOHINI DUTTA 
@freyadutta 
Antidote Games 
@helloAntidote
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Mindful Play: Politics of Desigining for the Other

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Can we make a game to save someone we don't understand? What are the politics of othering? Do we ever make anything for someone who is not us? Why are game so prone to saviourism?

Published in: Design

Mindful Play: Politics of Desigining for the Other

  1. MINDFUL PLAY THE POLITICS OF DESIGNING FOR THE OTHER
  2. by: mohini dutta @freyadutta
  3. @freyadutta What does it mean to design for the OTHER?
  4. Who is the OTHER? @freyadutta This is me
  5. Who is the OTHER? @freyadutta These are some cute pandas
  6. Who is the OTHER? @freyadutta NOT A PANDA !_!
  7. @freyadutta Narcissistic Red Pandas! ...not all pandas are alike! Playground Panda! Adventure Pandas!
  8. @freyadutta The OTHER is not a homogenous group
  9. Pandas @freyadutta All endangered animals VS
  10. @freyadutta DESIGNING FOR THE “OTHER” IS A DISINGENUOUS PROPOSITION.
  11. @freyadutta There is nothing about being 'female' that naturally binds women Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto
  12. $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ OTHER == Commodity $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ @freyadutta
  13. @freyadutta The other occupies a cultural space outside of ours
  14. @freyadutta We, as designers, embody the SELF.
  15. @freyadutta We design games that WE want to play.
  16. @freyadutta Games are a celebration of the SELF
  17. As consumers of games: we are trained to focus on our own experience as paramount. As designers: we are trained to measure our projects against ourselves. @freyadutta
  18. The unconscious is the discourse of the Other. @freyadutta Jacques Lacan
  19. BIG OTHER @freyadutta little other Jacques Lacan The Alien OTHER Projection of the SELF
  20. @freyadutta WE HAVE BEEN DESIGNING FOR THE little other
  21. @freyadutta The flaw in our design strategy so far has been working with commonality VS embracing the alien, the unfamiliar
  22. @freyadutta
  23. @freyadutta PURPOSE! GOALS!
  24. @freyadutta Even an abstract game like Tetris tasks the player with creating order from chaotically falling blocks by making neat lines which are then deleted, re-ordering the play space through erasure. Such games cast the player in the role of RESTORER, someone to set the world right again. David Chandler, Videogames and the Aesthetics of Ruins, KillScreen
  25. @freyadutta Games are haikus for expressing the chaotic narrative of life
  26. @freyadutta Games provide a terrain from which meaning can emerge Image/Panoramical by Fernando Ramallo & David Kanaga
  27. @freyadutta The politics of representation are the rules of the poetry of games
  28. image/ Vincent Ocasla’s @freyadutta Magnasanti, SimCity 2000 Achieved at the cost of social repression and totalitarian control, his goal was not the quality of his Sims' lives, but the quantification of technocratic efficiency; his intention, to critique the lethality of the games managerial assumptions. Ironically, because of its precise techno-scientism, Magnasanti's viewers speculated about its applicability to real-world urban projects. Many of the Reddit posts were optimistic. Ava Kofman Les Simerables, for Jacobin.
  29. @freyadutta Is ennui the great Cthulhic horror of our privileged times? MEH
  30. @freyadutta To counter the mixed feelings and groundless despair that might greet such an era, we need to get there first; to invent new desires, to solve the problem of boredom and meaninglessness by our wits and good looks. Brandon Joyce, On Cathexis & Life games
  31. @freyadutta Estragon: Nothing to be done. Vladimir: I'm beginning to come round to that opinion. Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot Act 1
  32. @freyadutta All is well! One must imagine Sisyphus happy. Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
  33. Rapture no longer haunts me. I got the help I needed, @freyadutta or at least am getting it. While playing BioShock Infinite last year, I had a moment of epiphany when I was suddenly back in Rapture at the game’s end. Joe Donnelly on coping with depression using BioShock (Kill Screen)
  34. @freyadutta Tarot Card Deck
  35. @freyadutta Why are we making meaning for others? Why aren't we letting them make meaning for themselves? Where’s my Umwelt?
  36. INTENTIONS != EFFECT @freyadutta
  37. @freyadutta The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege. Teju Cole
  38. @freyadutta Tomb Raider: Underworld Ruins provide an aesthetic setting that matches the core idea behind most games: To interact with a broken world and change it through play David Chandler, Videogames and the Aesthetics of Ruins, KillScreen
  39. @freyadutta How to iterate with an invisible audience?
  40. @freyadutta
  41. @freyadutta How DO we design games for Others?
  42. @freyadutta How DO we design games for Others? WE Don't
  43. MINDFUL PLAY
  44. PLAY AS CONVERSATION VS INSTRUCTION
  45. Ask not what fun does for you. Ask rather what you do for fun. ”Bernie DeKoven
  46. PLAY AS DIAGNOSTIC VS GAMES AS CURES
  47. You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Buckminster Fuller
  48. CAN SHARING OUR TOYS TEACH US NEW WAYS TO PLAY WITH THEM?
  49. Game-making Workshop
  50. Playing games together and having fun = MOST IMPORTANT PART
  51. Sharing what Games CAN do, vs what Games do
  52. Games are more than their rules, they are means of self-expression
  53. BOO! BOO! SCARY! GAMES CAN APPEAR TO BE Marceline the Vampire Queen, Adventure Time, Cartoon Network
  54. Super awesome fun! when you understand them! BUT THEY ARE NOT! They are Marceline the Vampire Queen, Adventure Time, Cartoon Network
  55. MAKING games makes the “OTHERED” group an active participant in their (intended) emancipation
  56. To give an Author to a text is to impose upon that text a stop clause, to furnish it with a final signification, to close the writing. Roland Barthes, Death of the Author
  57. @freyadutta Instead of stopping at intention, let us move on & embrace the creation of conversations of consequence.
  58. MOHINI DUTTA @freyadutta Antidote Games @helloAntidote

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