R e s e a r c h

Problematic Examples of Games

The following works have been chosen as games that present a problem that has lead me to decide to work on the topic of social dynamics in games.


Little Cave Hero
The social networking game boom has definitely made its mark, but so far its hard to say that these games encourage any unique types of interaction. It is either competition, add a friend to your team, or add a friend and get a bonus. For example in the Facebook game Little Cave Hero, you can add your friends in order to receive a bonus daily, when you visit their town. Your friend can also give you a small gift per day. This just sort of encourages more people to play. I'm interested in creating a game that involves players with each other in a more "up-close and personal" level, where it is apparent that the way they influence each other changes the gameplay.


Little Cave Hero

Tiny Tower
An article in Popmatters brings up an interesting game, Tiny Tower, in which unethical things are done, in a cute, meaningless context. However the game does resemble the real world. My game aims to resemble the real world in aesthetic and structural ways, so I think maybe this game and article will inspire some thoughts on those choices as I make the game. Click the screen shot below to read the full article.

Tiny Tower



Theorists and Readings

These authors have inspired my choice to work on this thesis topic through their analysis of games or of culture.

Jane McGonigal

This is a talk by Jane McGonigal on how games can change the world. Games have to do with the way our brains are structured, the way we think and also the way we feel. The self-empowerment that comes with games can be downplayed in our society... because after all, it's "just a game." But what if games actually mean more?


Jeremy Rifkin

Based on the book by Jeremy Rikin, The Empathic Civilization, this animated presentation talks about how empathy affects the design of our economy and our sense of social responsibility.


Noam Chomsky

For the premise of my project, I wanted to discover a game design that defies the typical given roles of ally or foe, and discover dynamic gameplay in a setting that is designed to bring about competition, collaboration and  personal relationships. I have been inspired by the writings of Noam Chomsky, and his analysis of international relations and social responsibility.