Values at Play in Digital Games

Values at Play in Digital Games

by Mary Flanagan, Helen Nissenbaum

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Overview

A theoretical and practical guide to integrating human values into the conception and design of digital games.

All games express and embody human values, providing a compelling arena in which we play out beliefs and ideas. “Big ideas” such as justice, equity, honesty, and cooperation—as well as other kinds of ideas, including violence, exploitation, and greed—may emerge in games whether designers intend them or not. In this book, Mary Flanagan and Helen Nissenbaum present Values at Play, a theoretical and practical framework for identifying socially recognized moral and political values in digital games. Values at Play can also serve as a guide to designers who seek to implement values in the conception and design of their games.

After developing a theoretical foundation for their proposal, Flanagan and Nissenbaum provide detailed examinations of selected games, demonstrating the many ways in which values are embedded in them. They introduce the Values at Play heuristic, a systematic approach for incorporating values into the game design process. Interspersed among the book's chapters are texts by designers who have put Values at Play into practice by accepting values as a design constraint like any other, offering a real-world perspective on the design challenges involved.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262529976
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 09/02/2016
Series: The MIT Press
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 669,133
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mary Flanagan is Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities, Director of the Tiltfactor game research laboratory, and Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Critical Play: Radical Game Design (MIT Press).

Helen Nissenbaum is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication and Computer Science at New York University, where she is Director of the Information Law Institute.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introducing Values at Play xi

Part I Understanding Values at Play

1 Groundwork for Values in Games 3

2 Uncovering Values at Play 15

3 Game Elements: The Language of Values Jonathan Belman 33

Part II The Values at Play Heuristic

4 Overview of the Heuristic 75

5 Discovery 79

The Power of Values Frank Lantz 94

6 Implementation 99

Values of Game Hardware Kyle Rentschler 114

7 Verification 119

Part III Values at Play at Work

8 Inspiring Designers 141

Developing a Reflective Design Process Tracy Fullerton 144

Playing (and Designing) with Values through Board Game Modification Celia Pearce 150

A Brief Participatory Intervention for Understanding Values at Play Karen Schrier 156

9 Reflections on Values at Play 163

Notes 167

References 179

Game References 193

Index 199

What People are Saying About This

Asi Burak

Flanagan and Nissenbaum boldly step into the deep and turbulent waters of aesthetics and values in games. An essential read for designers who believe in the power of games to change minds.

Richard Lemarchand

Values at Play in Digital Games gives the reader a powerful set of tools for examining the cultural, ethical, and political meanings of video games, and reminds us that a consideration of the values embodied in digital play is an integral part of the game design process.

Endorsement

Flanagan and Nissenbaum boldly step into the deep and turbulent waters of aesthetics and values in games. An essential read for designers who believe in the power of games to change minds.

Asi Burak, President, Games for Change; faculty at the School of Visual Arts

From the Publisher

Values at Play in Digital Games gives the reader a powerful set of tools for examining the cultural, ethical, and political meanings of video games, and reminds us that a consideration of the values embodied in digital play is an integral part of the game design process.

Richard Lemarchand, Associate Professor, University of Southern California; Lead Designer, Uncharted

Values at Play in Digital Games is an invaluable toolbox for understanding the values embedded in existing games and for making new games that express the values we believe in.

Jesper Juul, video game theorist; author of Half-Real and The Art of Failure

Flanagan and Nissenbaum boldly step into the deep and turbulent waters of aesthetics and values in games. An essential read for designers who believe in the power of games to change minds.

Asi Burak, President, Games for Change; faculty at the School of Visual Arts

Jesper Juul

Values at Play in Digital Games is an invaluable toolbox for understanding the values embedded in existing games and for making new games that express the values we believe in.

Customer Reviews