GAme Design as a self-TRAnsformative Practice Designing games as an activity for self-reflection and self-construction

Why this website? Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why this website? Because we believe this is important.

We feel that any form of design (and game design in particular) has unexplored potential as a practice for education and self-construction. We also believe that pedagogy, research through design, and the social sciences in general have largely overlooked this potential.

To be sure, we are not talking about the effects of being exposed to designed objects or experiences that meant to guide or transform our behavior (from the ticket-selling machine to the virtual worlds of videogames, to receiving a lecture on a certain topic). No, we are focusing on the very activities involved in designing those objects or experiences as transformative and inherently educational practice for the designers themselves! Among those activities we can list performing basic field research, negotiating with the possibilities of design (disclosed by guidelines, clients’ briefs, regulations, etc.), absorbing and integrating user feedback, iteratively testing and refining design choices, etc.

We understand the activities listed above as practices that require the designers to integrate and restructure their knowledge and refine their sensitivity towards both what they are trying to achieve and the stakeholders involved. Also, if not mainly, we understand design as a way of making the designers’ beliefs and perspectives into objects for (their own as well as other people’s) critical evaluation.

Some of our talks and publications are not specifically about the design of interactive systems or games. We believe that many of our observations and initial findings hold true for many other practices involved in creativity and education. Discussing and researching the ways in which game design can be used in self-fashioning and education is – however – a particularly pressing social need in this socio-technical age. It is an age in which we, human beings, spend a considerable amount of our time interacting with virtual worlds, an age in which game design notions, game assets, scripting tools, game engines, and a plethora of east-to-follow tutorials are widely available online and free of charge.

So, this website is a start. It is a small and hopefully accessible repository of the small steps we are taking in this particular field, and a way to list and reference the work of other people who are busy with the idea of fashioning oneself through of game design or that, like us, consider it important to explore what that practice can offer to education and self-construction.