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Discomfort design: Critical reflection through uncomfortable play

Grace, L. (2011). Discomfort design: Critical reflection through uncomfortable play, in proc 17th International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2011), Istanbul Turkey

In this paper Grace addresses a range of texts which can be thought of as taboo, from videogames such as BMX XXX (Acclaim Entertainment 2002) to boardgames such as the infamous boardgames Jews Out and Ghettopoly. For Grace, games can be a critical experiment and these texts offer a way to think about games which challenge the player.

Useful quotes:

“Games are structured play, and it is their structure that reflects social value.” (p. 1)

“Just as juxtaposition is a harmonic device in composition, or a rhetorical device in poetics, the moment of discomfort offers designers a highly effective opportunity to remind players to think. It is most powerful in its ability to rip a player from the rhythm of play into to the laboratory of thought.” (p. 6)

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