The Importance of Being a Player

Maria Åresund, Staffan Björk


Based on two studies of gamers, this article argues that an important part of the gaming experience is to allow people to take on the social role of a player. The two studies looked at two radically different user groups: that of hardcore board gamers and that of disabled children playing computer games. Both groups stressed that games provided a way to change how others perceive them, letting them have social interaction on an equal level within the game context. Results show that the participants created new social networks by taking on the social role of a player, setting aside their everyday social role. Based on this, the article presents design implications from the observations that encapsulate how games can be designed to support people to take on the role of a player which is separated from their normal social roles.


action; computer games; design; pervasive games; serious games; social roles

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