Unsettling Play: Perceptions of Agonistic Games

CAMERA Unsettling Play: Perceptions of Agonistic Games

You can now read Daniela De Angeli et al’s new paper “Unsettling Play: Perceptions of Agonistic Games“, published in the ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage, which was nominated by three reviewers for the Best Paper Award.


In this paper, we propose Agonistic Games (AGs) as a serious games subcategory that can stimulate critical reflection on topics of dark heritage through multiperspectivity and unsettling play. We first discuss the emerging topic of agonism in memory studies, and then how games can be used to support its objectives. We then discuss the development of 2 original AGs: Endless Blitz and Umschlagplatz ’43.

We explore whether these two AGs were perceived as capable of stimulating critical reflection by collecting data from visitors to the exhibition ‘Krieg. Macht. Sinn’ at the Ruhr Museum in Germany where the games were installed, and from participants in an online course describing the games. From analysing data collected, we outline four factors inhibiting the capacity of AGs to stimulate critical reflection (topic, context, design, and assumptions about games) and propose strategies for overcoming those inhibitors. Our findings are valuable to scholars, game researchers, and designers, laying the foundations for the design and development of future AGs.

Find out more about Daniela’s research on our blog and at www.danieladeangeli.com.

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