G4C2008: values at play

Mary Flanagan (Tiltfactor, Values @ Play) — “a humanistic approach to game design.” How to think about / change existing gameplay to incorporate human values? How to embed human values/principles into design processes such as game design? Some of the values include privacy, creative expression, diversity, cooperation/, commons, community/collective decision making, altruism/sharing, inclusivity?

V@P recreating iterative design process to examine human values.

Studies to test impact of V@P curriculum on designers. “Grow a game” brainstorming cards. (Verbs, Challenges, Games, Values). Stages of Concern Instrument to measure changes in attitudes about values-conscious design.


  1. The big issue with making activist games is a perceived conflict between fun and the seriousness of the social issue (don’t want to make light of that issue). Going too serious leads to strange unintended consequences, e.g. Jena 6 game ends up seeming racist — therefore need to maintain the values.
  2. Students’ three strategies: (1) the unwinnable game; (2) appropriate mainstream games for activist purposes; (3) most difficult to accomplish — invent new mechanics

See V@P public contest — deadline July 1.