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Session Name:

The Play of Stillness: Designing Experiential Play Spaces


The idea that games are fundamentally interactive is deeply ingrained in both the industry and the academy. As a result, games are typically analyzed as responsive dynamic systems. However, while this way of thinking about games yields useful insights into many types of games, it breaks down when it is applied to low-interaction play spaces like Dear Esther and Gone Home. Some have even gone so far as to claim that such experiences are not games at all. This talk offers a new methodology for the design and analysis of non-interactive play spaces. It lays out six heuristics for good experiential design, and illustrates how they work by using them to analyze three successful low-interaction experiences: the airport escape in Thirty Flights of Loving, the blizzard sequence in Journey, and P.T., the playable demo for the upcoming Silent Hills.

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  • GDC 2015
  • Brian Upton
  • Sony Santa Monica
  • free content
  • Design
  • Design