Games about LOVE and TRUST?: harnessing the power of metaphors for experience design
Author(s)Rusch, Doris C.; Weise, Matthew J.
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In this paper we will tackle the question of how thinking about game design as metaphorical process can help game designers to systematically expand the experiential scope of videogames. Sharing Eric Zimmerman's and Katie Salen's frustration with the reality of the game store, the "endless racks of adolescent power fantasies, witless cartoon characters, and literal minded sports simulations." , we set out to explore the potential for future development of games that are about something, that tackle complex concepts and ideas in a medium-specific manner and thus provide players with thought-provoking, and insightful experiences. Central to our investigations is digital games' natural affinity to metaphors. Metaphors can enter games in a variety of ways. In the following we are going to focus on two of them: interface metaphors that provide the very foundation for the communication between game and player, and games that are based as a whole on metaphorically-structured abstract concepts such as LOVE or TRUST. Applying Lakoff's and Johnson's research on "metaphors we live by"  to game studies, we will identify potential for future development and give suggestions of how it can be tapped. Qualitative analyses of existing game examples will round up our explorations of how harnessing the power of metaphors in game design can create rich and insightful game-play experiences.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Comparative Media Studies
Proceedings of the 2008 ACM SIGGRAPH symposium on Video games (Sandbox '08)
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Doris C. Rusch and Matthew J. Weise. 2008. Games about LOVE and TRUST?: harnessing the power of metaphors for experience design. In Proceedings of the 2008 ACM SIGGRAPH symposium on Video games (Sandbox '08). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 89-97.
Author's final manuscript