Podcast: Konstantin Mitgutsch, “Purposeful Games: Research & Design”

In the last few years a new trend of designing video games intended to fulfill a serious purpose through impacting the players in real life contexts has emerged. These games claim to raise awareness about social and political issues such as inequity, injustice, poverty, racism, sexism, exploitation, and oppression. Their intent is to reach a specific purpose beyond pure entertainment. But what are the specific attributes of purposeful games and how can they be researched? Which game design challenges arise and how are they addressed? How do players make meaning of their game play experiences in general? And what is the future of purposeful games research?

In this talk three perspectives of Mitgutsch’s recent research on purposeful games are outlined: To begin, insights from a recent study on meaningful experiences in players’ lives are examined and the research method of playographies is discussed. In the second part, a research-based game design project on subversive game design and recursive learning is presented and the background of the game Afterland is highlighted. Finally, the narrative of serious games and the design of purposeful games are discussed. On this basis, recent research results will be explored and future challenges for game design and purposeful games research will be outlined.

Dr. Konstantin Mitgutsch is a post-doctoral researcher at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and a Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna. In 2010 he was a Max Kade Fellow at the Education Arcade at the Program of Comparative Media Studies at MIT. He worked at the University of Vienna for several years and published books in the field of game studies and education. Since 2007 he organizes and chairs the annual Vienna Games Conference FROG and is on the expert council of the Pan European Game Information (PEGI).

Andrew Whitacre

About Andrew Whitacre

Andrew directs the communications efforts for CMS/W and its research groups. A native of Washington, D.C., he holds a degree in communication from Wake Forest University, with a minor in humanities, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. This work includes drawing up and executing strategic communications plans, with projects including website design, social media management and training, press outreach, product launches, fundraising campaign support, and event promotions.


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