Play Design, IT University of Copenhagen – Spring 2018
Assignment: design a Dark Gamification/Play experience
“Dark play design is a sub-branch of play design that focuses on the disruptive nature of play: subverting order, dissolving frames, breaking its own rules, ‘so that the playing itself is in danger of being destroyed” (Schechner, Richard (2003). The Future of Ritual: Writings on Culture and Performance. New York: Routledge.)
However, dark play is not necessarily dark in the sense that it is inherently abusive or violent. Instead, it relies primarily on the thrill of keeping the other participants “in the dark”, instilling the person dark-playing with a sense of being superior and more knowledgeable than the rest. According to Bernie DeKoven (and classical play theory in general), play is by definition a voluntary act, and if a person is not willingly participating in the play activity, they cannot be said to be playing at all (DeKoven, 32). However, in the case of dark play, it is exactly the ambiguous role of these oblivious players which defines the experience.
OFFICE TROLL is the “dark playful” app my team and I have designed. By mediating the activity with rules and tasks, we encourage the player to interrupt his or her colleagues during a conversation at their workplace (office).