1st Edition

Making Deep Games
Designing Games with Meaning and Purpose

ISBN 9781138812130
Published December 6, 2016 by Routledge
228 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

USD $56.95

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Book Description

Like movies, television, and other preceding forms of media, video games are undergoing a dynamic shift in its content and perception. While the medium can still be considered in its infancy, the mark of true artistry and conceptual depth is detectable in the evolving styles, various genres and game themes. Doris C. Rusch’s, Making Deep Games, combines this insight along with the discussion of the expressive nature of games, various case studies, and hands-on design exercises. This book offers a perspective into how to make games that tackle the whole bandwidth of the human experience; games that teach us something about ourselves, enable thought-provoking, emotionally rich experiences and promote personal and social change. Grounded in cognitive linguistics, game studies and the reflective practice of game design, Making Deep Games explores systematic approaches for how to approach complex abstract concepts, inner processes, and emotions through the specific means of the medium. It aims to shed light on how to make the multifaceted aspects of the human condition tangible through gameplay experiences.

Table of Contents

 Chapter 1: Diving for Deep Game Ideas

Chapter 2: Games as expressive medium

Chapter 3: Modeling the Human Experience or – the Art of Nailing Pudding to the Wall

Chapter 4: Experiential Metaphors or – What Breaking Up, Getting a Tattoo and Playing God of War Have in Common

Chapter 5: Allegorical Games – OR: The Monster Isn’t a Monster Isn’t a Monster…

Chapter 6: Designing With Purpose and Meaning – 9 Questions to Define Where You’re Going and Make Sure You Get There

Chapter 7: It’s Not Always About You! – Lessons Learnt From Participatory Deep Game Design

Chapter 8: The Same New Kid In Yet Another Hood – Deep Game Design as Creative Arts Therapy?


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Doris C. Rusch is a game designer, researcher, play aficionado and holds a position as game design faculty at DePaul University. Before that she did post doctoral work at GAMBIT Game Lab, MIT, and Vienna University of Technology (Austria). Rusch's work is focused on the theory and practice of game design, particularly in regard to games that model the "human experience". She has won numerous awards for experimental, metaphorical games, many of which contributing to mental health awareness and activism, such as Akrasia (a game about substance abuse), Elude (a game about depression), Zombie Yoga - Recovering the Inner Child (a Kinect game in which the player does Yoga poses to fight inner fears, represented by Zombies) and Soteria - Dreams as Currency (a game for teens to learn how to overcome anxiety disorder). Having completed studies in Literature, Philosophy, Comparative Media Studies and English at Vienna University, she received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and Interactive Systems in 2004.