Virtualizing Material Games

Abstract (in English): 

Even before worldwide quarantines added impetus, material gaming had already become increasingly enacted in virtual spaces. Rather than virtual play replacing the material, as some speculated in the early days of videogames, material play has become increasingly entangled with virtuality. These increasingly complementary modes of play offer a rich space for exploring the multifaceted embodied and conceptual activity of play, the blending of material and virtual that in many ways defines games.
The three panelists encompass a wide range of perspectives, including the perspective of a game maker translating material play into the digital realm, that of a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) scholar who researched how players interact differently with the Catan boardgame and its digital implementations, and that of a theorist reflecting on how virtual spaces remediate material affects. Together, these diverse perspectives aim to explore the paradoxical yet generative spaces where materiality and virtuality intersect in gaming.
The theoretical approach looks at analog games as capable of producing the specific circumstances that foreground the affective relationships between the players and the other pieces of the assemblage. Because of the procedural nature that necessitates specific types of interactions between parts of the play assemblage, analog games amplify the social interactions between players and differently produce affective orientations as a consequence of their systems. Then examines the ways that these games are remediated and adapted to digital platforms highlighting the things that are lost or changed in the move to digital, uncovering the types of experiences that are important for each type of adaptation.

The HCI approach presents Association Mapping (AM) in HCI; called so because the formation of a network is due to objects making associations in context. By recording the associations that form a network, it is possible to understand what objects are most central within that network. . This research contributes to the next paradigm of HCI by providing a new tool to understand use that is fragmented, distributed, and invisible. AM incorporates association as its measurement. This results in passive measures of attention, hybridity, and influence in network formation of any kind. It does this by making the systemic nature of use visible and capable of evaluation at any level.
And finally the design approach applies design strategies for incorporating three main types of play: Screenplay, Gameplay, and Roleplay, seeking to answer questions about how to bridge the narrative and performance aspects of digital and analog play. This is particularly applicable to classic games that are associated with transmedia narratives and characters, such as the Clue board game, where there are established cinematic traditions and character roles.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, board games have become a useful medium for examining our changing relationship with physical and digital interaction. In addition to presenting our own findings, this panel also offers several methodologies for furthering research into the intersections of the analog, digital, physical, and virtual.

The permanent URL of this page: 
Record posted by: 
Milosz Waskiewicz