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Existence and Emotion in Play

Games have a long tradition of dealing with myths and monsters, thereby tapping into topics that are associated with how we as humans understand ourselves and our role in the world. At the same time, as games are maturing as medium, there are still challenges relating to how existential and profound topics can be implemented into games in an experientially interesting way.

GTA seminar

This seminar concerns games and play that tap into such issues, covering the design of games that tap into the mythical and the existential. Further, the seminar will look at the emotional impact that games can have upon us, from the awe and terror brought forward by monster play, to the emotional response that players have when encountering uncomfortable and provocative game content. The seminar also asks what we can learn from live-action role-playing games concerning how to create emotional impact and immersion in games.

Redirecting attention from how games move us emotionally to how they move the boundaries between play and gambling, the seminar will end with a presentation on loot boxes as a form of transgressive game design.

Seminar program:

9.30-9.45 – Kristine Jørgensen, professor UiB: Welcome and introduction

9.45-10.45 – Doris C. Rusch, associate professor DePaul University Chicago: Designing Mythical Games as Existential Petri Dishes 

10.45-11.00 – Break

11.00-11.45 – Jaroslav Svelch, postdoctoral fellow UiB: Awe, terror and spreadsheets: Gamification of monsters

11.45-12.30 – Torill Elvira Mortensen, associate professor ITU Copenhagen: Playing with the unspeakable: emotions, meaning and transgressive games

12.30-13.30 – Lunch

13.30-14.30 – Erik Aarebrot, manager Urokråke: Creating and maintaining trust in roleplay

14.30-15.00 – Break

15.00-15.45 – Kristian A. Bjørkelo, PhD student UiB: Creating realism through discomfort – crafting a LARP from the refugee crisis

15.45-16.30 – Faltin Karlsen, professor Kristiania University College: The hazardous border between gaming and gambling: the case of loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II

16.30-17.00 – Summary and discussion