terça-feira, 1 de junho de 2021

"Horror Ludens: Using Fear to Construct Meaning in Video Games" - my article for HCI International 2021

The HCI International 2021 (USA) conference will take place in July (online). I will present the article "Horror Ludens: Using Fear to Construct Meaning in Video Games". You can read the article by clicking here and you can play the game by clicking here!



Below, the article's summary:

Abstract. In this article, we discuss how fear can be a powerful element to construct meaning in some specific video games. Titles like Phantaruk, Alan Wake, Here they lie, and many others help us to find some answers in this scenario, but herein we intend to focus our attention on the game Rapid Eye Movement (PC, 2020-2021). Created by an independent Brazilian studio named Abysstrakt Games, and scheduled to be launched in late 2021, the game sets its action in a dreamlike ambient where the player has the role of a person inside a nightmare, looking for clues to set the time on different clocks, trying to wake up. As a methodological process to understand how it is possible to create meaning using fear in video games, we have employed a formal analysis of gameplay that “is based on studying a game independently of context, that is, without regarding which specific people are playing a specific instance of the game”. We have observed a group of players of Rapid Eye Movement in order to study how moments of horror and terror create an atmosphere of fear and, consequently, the meaning of the gaming experience. In this work, we present these impressions as a qualitative research, with the objective of identifying the main points inside the fearful experience of playing Rapid Eye Movement, in order to comprehend how terror, horror, anxiety and despair could be used to support the game design process.

Keywords: Horror, Video Game, Indie Game.

#GoGamers

segunda-feira, 3 de maio de 2021

Independent games with a hint of seriousness

Last month, I experienced a happy coincidence. I occasionally downloaded two indie games without knowing much about them, and, suddenly, I found out both were developed based on the same theme: aging, memory loss and dementia.

I’m talking about HEAL and BEFORE I FORGET. The first one is an intricate puzzle game with a beautiful narrative about an old man searching for some distant memories of a love he had, that has already died; the second one is a game about a woman suffering from dementia visiting some echoes from her past with her husband. Check both trailers below:





Both games are excellent examples of how we can bring a discussion about serious subjects to the gaming universe and how we can make the audience think beyond mainstream themes.

Another great example is THAT DRAGON, CANCER, a moving story about the loss of a baby by a tragic disease.



All these titles are clear examples of how we can touch the audience with delicate themes and put people to think in a serious way using ludic language. One more subject to highlight in the discussion of how games become an important media in contemporary times.

#GoGamers

domingo, 4 de abril de 2021

SPACE TRAIN: a geme about blockchain

Is blockchain a level hard subject? Yeah. Can we facilitate the understanding of this subject in a playful way? Of course we can!

Meet SPACE TRAIN: a full online browser based game that explains some basic ideas of this complex theme.



To understand the complex idea behind the blockchain concept, the game uses a metaphor with aliens being allocated to a spaceship in limited turns. The game was developed by students and teachers at the college where I work (I created the game design). In the future there will be a website with supporting material, but - for now - you can play the game by clicking here.





Enjoy the game and wait for more content.

#GoGamers

sexta-feira, 12 de março de 2021

Pure abstract games

In this post I’ll discuss the idea behind one of my favorite types of games: abstract games. Well, first of all let’s understand what makes a game an abstract game. The definitions are many and I chose one from Board Game Geek’s site. In a section dedicated to defining this kind of game, we can find some interesting concepts about abstract games, but I'll pick one that fits perfectly in this present discussion: “abstract games” is a term often used to refer to games without a theme (regardless of the game mechanics) like Go, Backgammon, and Checkers – as analogic game examples. But we can find digital examples also, like 2048, Tetris, and 140.

Basically, we can say that this category of games is made purely of a mechanic. The components will be geometric shapes, colors, numbers etc. Occasionally, we can put a theme inside an abstract game, but – in essence – the focus is on the mechanism. In this context it’s important to remember that mankind creates games from its earliest historical records. One of the oldest games we have knowledge of is Senet – an abstract board game - found in archaeological relics dating from 3500 years before Christ (THOMPSON, BERBANK-GREEN, CUSWORTH, 2007, p12).

Let’s check some examples of analogical abstract games:









And also let’s check some abstract video games:





#GoGamers



References:

Boardgame Geek official site: https://boardgamegeek.com/

THOMPSON, Jim; BERBANK-GREEN, Barnaby; CUSWORTH, Nic. Game Design: principles, practice, and techniques – the ultimate guide for the aspiring game designer. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2007.

domingo, 7 de fevereiro de 2021

terça-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2021

Screenshots of my new game

Rapid Eye Movement (R.E.M.) is coming soon! Check some images to understand the gaming atmosphere!

#GoGamers