A Rhetorical Approach to Gameful Design
Paul Coulton, ImaginationLancaster
Thursday 1st May 4pm T-Room, 1st Floor Evo House
I am a Senior Lecturer in Digital Design within Lancaster Universities open and exploratory design-led research lab ImaginationLancaster. My primary activity is embodied as ‘research through design’ and in particular to the design of novel hybrid physical/digital interactive games, playful experiences, and artefacts. Much of this research is conducted using techniques I helped pioneer relating to an ‘in the wild’ evaluation methodology utilising ‘app stores’ and social networks as an experimental platforms. This element of my work has lead to international recognition by industry as well as academia in that I was selected as one of 50 most talented mobile developers worldwide from a community of over 2 million to be a founding Nokia Champion and the first academic invited to speak at the mobile section of the Game Developers Conference. Increasingly my work encompasses the non-entertainment use of ‘gameful design’ across a range of application areas and increasingly the use of Design Fiction as a way of exploring digital futures for areas such as the Internet of Things and Digital Empathy.
In this talk I will address the increasing discussion around using game design to address one of the major design directions of the moment that of design for behavioural change. Arguably the majority of current game inspired approaches are directed toward achieving minor behavioural change using simple feedback loops that reward users actions in relation easily understood goals. However, it is very difficult to see how such solutions could be applicable to address the big societal challenges such as climate change. Using examples I will present an alternate approach that argues that the rule-based representations and interactions of games can help designers realize a new form of rhetoric through which more complex scenarios may be addressed.
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