The game as a communication system is able to vehicle and transfer a number of messages: through its procedural rhetoric (Bogost, 2006; 2007; Brathwaite & Sharp, 2010) and the experience it engenders (Sicart, 2011) it has the power to represent, abstract and reduce complex and articulated situations, enabling players to have a first- hand experience of issues otherwise not easy to analyse or understand. When game design encounters and answers to social purposes, designers have to go over and above the promotion of pure entertainment, becoming social facilitators that raise awareness, activate reflection and responsiveness on social issues, affecting attitudes and sometimes also behaviours. Intended to the game can give raise to fruitful debates, DiscrimiNation is a persuasive boardgame on the marginalised members and groups of our society. To question the social factors that encourage discrimination, the game embeds the discussion on rhetorical violence and prejudicial treatment of different categories of people on a procedural and semantic level. It exposes the psychological patterns that condition our critical thinking, and it questions the issues beyond diversity. Problematising the discrimination struggles and their social role, our paper presents a perspective on the ability of DiscrimiNation to affect players attitudes, challenging their being moral agents. Arguing the topic of inclusion and equal rights, DiscrimiNation intends to stimulate mutual comprehension to defeat the discrimination instincts that more or less consciously populate our daily lives. It pushes its players to interact and communicate, personally testing the most common justifications that have been used in the human history to legitimise the discriminatory ideologies. Asking its players to wear the shoes of historically discriminated groups such as women, Blacks, atheists and homosexuals, DiscrimiNation covers topics of diversity, mechanisms of social hatred and prejudices, aiming at struggling biases and unconscious detrimental behaviours among citizens. Players act to protect their in-game rights from discriminatory actions, both from other players and the government (lead by game system) in a climate of rising hatred. This game enquires the relationship between actions and their ethics, contemporary issues and their cultural roots. In particular, the game highlights the human tendency to interact with the unknown or not-understood pouring hate on it. Our research questions are: Can we push players to understand the psychological mechanisms hidden behind the conscious or unconscious discrimination? And can such an understanding enable them to oppose them when they threaten to obscure their judgment? To understand to what extent move the discussion to real context where DiscrimiNation is effective and powerful in explaining and transfer this knowledge, the game has been tested and assessed using pre and post experience questionnaires. This contribution also presents some results from empirical investigation grounded on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of gathered data. It emerged in particular that the game succeeded in moving mindsets: immediately after the play experience, players were significantly more likely to discuss the serious and complex issue covered.

DiscrimiNation: A Persuasive Board Game to Challenge Discriminatory Justifications and Prejudices

M. Bertolo;I. Mariani;ALBERELLO CONTI, ELEONORA ADELE
2018-01-01

Abstract

The game as a communication system is able to vehicle and transfer a number of messages: through its procedural rhetoric (Bogost, 2006; 2007; Brathwaite & Sharp, 2010) and the experience it engenders (Sicart, 2011) it has the power to represent, abstract and reduce complex and articulated situations, enabling players to have a first- hand experience of issues otherwise not easy to analyse or understand. When game design encounters and answers to social purposes, designers have to go over and above the promotion of pure entertainment, becoming social facilitators that raise awareness, activate reflection and responsiveness on social issues, affecting attitudes and sometimes also behaviours. Intended to the game can give raise to fruitful debates, DiscrimiNation is a persuasive boardgame on the marginalised members and groups of our society. To question the social factors that encourage discrimination, the game embeds the discussion on rhetorical violence and prejudicial treatment of different categories of people on a procedural and semantic level. It exposes the psychological patterns that condition our critical thinking, and it questions the issues beyond diversity. Problematising the discrimination struggles and their social role, our paper presents a perspective on the ability of DiscrimiNation to affect players attitudes, challenging their being moral agents. Arguing the topic of inclusion and equal rights, DiscrimiNation intends to stimulate mutual comprehension to defeat the discrimination instincts that more or less consciously populate our daily lives. It pushes its players to interact and communicate, personally testing the most common justifications that have been used in the human history to legitimise the discriminatory ideologies. Asking its players to wear the shoes of historically discriminated groups such as women, Blacks, atheists and homosexuals, DiscrimiNation covers topics of diversity, mechanisms of social hatred and prejudices, aiming at struggling biases and unconscious detrimental behaviours among citizens. Players act to protect their in-game rights from discriminatory actions, both from other players and the government (lead by game system) in a climate of rising hatred. This game enquires the relationship between actions and their ethics, contemporary issues and their cultural roots. In particular, the game highlights the human tendency to interact with the unknown or not-understood pouring hate on it. Our research questions are: Can we push players to understand the psychological mechanisms hidden behind the conscious or unconscious discrimination? And can such an understanding enable them to oppose them when they threaten to obscure their judgment? To understand to what extent move the discussion to real context where DiscrimiNation is effective and powerful in explaining and transfer this knowledge, the game has been tested and assessed using pre and post experience questionnaires. This contribution also presents some results from empirical investigation grounded on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of gathered data. It emerged in particular that the game succeeded in moving mindsets: immediately after the play experience, players were significantly more likely to discuss the serious and complex issue covered.
Woke Gaming. Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Injustice
9780295744186
game design, communication system, entertainment, games for social change, discrimination, qualitative research, ethics, player experience
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1081169
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