The design space of body games
This year’s proceedings from CHI (the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computer systems) have now made it into the ACM digital library. Elena Marquéz Segura, Jin Moen, myself and Lina Johansson had a full paper together this year. It is called “The design space of body games: Technological, physical and social design” and tells the story of how we designed games with and around the “body bug”, a nicely designed playtool with very small capabilities for interaction.
I am rather satisfied with this paper. At its core, the paper is about how pervasive game design involves designing much more than just a game engine and an interface. In that sense, it is similar to the ‘360 illusion‘ paper from 2009. But where that paper dealt with fiction-heavy and large-scale games (and seems to be read as a paper about larp), this time we apply the same principle to a much simpler and restricted range of games which we call ‘Body games’. These are games that are played by moving and take their main enjoyment from body movement. By restricting the domain this way and by looking at a really restricted playtool, we are able to be much more precise in what the design goals are and how we can bring in physiological and social aspects into the game design.
This paper is to a large extent Elena’s achievement. Most of the work in this paper was Elena’s master thesis project; and it is now also part of her Ph.D. work. Without her energy, enthusiasm and fantasy I doubt that this project would have gotten far.