Play and ludic interaction
Play and ludic interaction
UG / Fail (U) or Pass (G)
Language of instruction
Syllabus approval date
Syllabus valid from
Faculty of Culture and Society
Passed the Year 1 courses (Introduction to multidisciplinary interaction design, Embodied interaction, Collaborative media, Individual project).
Progression level in relation to degree requirements
The course can normally be included as part of a general degree at advanced level.
The foundation for the course consists of key concepts for understanding the spaces of game and ludic interaction. Moreover, the foundation contains key concepts for designing play activities, such as game mechanics and the play-centric approach. More advanced topics including experimental gameplay, critical games, serious games, art games and urban play will be addressed, depending on the choice of project direction. We aim to draw upon our strengths in the area of physical computing and tangible interaction, though there will be opportunities to explore different game forms and develop new genres.
On the level of design methodology, students will create playful interventions that engage the body and senses, as well as the spatial and social contexts of play, through design experiments that include lo-and hi-fi prototyping as well as playtesting. Depending on the nature of the intervention, techniques such as design improvisation and physical prototyping will be included.
In order to increase precision, the generic types of outcomes are mapped to interaction design as follows.
Knowledge and understanding – Repertoire and theory (canonical designs, important design elements and important theoretical concepts)
Competence and skills – Skills and technique (including design approach)
Judgment and approach – Reflection and criticism.
Repertoire and theory
1. Building a repertoire of important game and play examples to design ludic interaction.
2. Developing familiarity with key concepts and theories on the role of games and play as a physical and situated phenomena.
Skills and techniques
3. Displaying ability to execute interaction design techniques suitable for designing ludic interaction in spatial, social and physical contexts.
4. Displaying ability to contribute to academic knowledge construction related to games and play through design activity and academic writing.
Reflection and criticism
5. Displaying ability to reflect on the role of games and play in society and life.
6. Displaying ability to position perspectives on ludic interaction within the academic fields of interaction design and game studies.
The pedagogical features of the class will include introductions to foundational concepts of the course, followed by group design projects where students create playful interventions– using advanced concepts and design techniques as appropriate.
Learning activities are further specified in a detailed Course Guide.
Learning outcomes related to design for games, play and ludic interaction (1–3) are assessed during 4 oral group examinations (studio crits) and during 1 workshop. Learning outcomes having to do with situated play (2, 5) are assessed in 2 seminars and a short paper. Learning outcomes having to do with academic proficiency (4, 6) are assessed in a short paper and 2 seminars.
Seminar participation: 2hp
Short paper: 1hp
Introductory assignments: 3hp
Final project: 9hp
Course literature and other study material
Sicart, M. (2012) Play Matters. Cambridge: MIT Press
Other required readings will be distributed in class, and will include excerpts from Sicart and Wilson on abusive games, Montola, Waern and Stenros on augmented reality games, Niedenthal on smell games, Hunike et al on game mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics.
Fullerton, Tracy (2008) Game design workshop. A playcentric approach to creating innovative games. 2nd ed. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
In addition, current articles and games will be assigned in class and the students will collect and critically evaluate additional literature and media based on the focus of their projects.
Plenary discussion and individual written evaluation, focusing on the learning outcomes and the means for achieving them (learning activities, resources, course organization etc.).