Fun by design: The game design activity and its iterative process as (playful) learning practices
AbstractThis contribution proposes a critical review of the results of a workshop held at Politecnico di Milano problematising how playfulness and ‘fun by design’ affect game design activities and contribute to giving students a different awareness of the play experience. The presented activities are part of the authors’ joint research in the domain of situated gaming as a form of playful learning in higher education, which investigates the part of both the designers and the players (Ackermann & Mariani, 2015). The analysis investigates how the iterative design process simultaneously elicits fun and activates reflections on the game design practice and the playtesting activity as a nodal moment for players and designers, where seriousness and playfulness intersect.
Allowing and requiring playful participation on multiple levels, and aiming to emphasise the players’ perspectives, we asked 45 students to (1) design location based mobile games, (2) perform the observation/verification process and (3) explore its elusive and challenging phases. Data was collected from rapid ethnographies and questionnaires compiled in the process.
The contribution expands the reasoning from the fundamental discourse of meanings embedded and communicated through games, to the importance of the game design activity as a recursive process of knowledge acquisition and as a specific form of playful learning.
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