Chair: Floyd Mueller, RMIT University, Australia
Knowing, Not Doing: Modalities of Gameplay Expertise in World of Warcraft Addons
Contribution & Benefit: We present a categorization of WoW addons using a multifaceted expertise framework, proposing a theoretically-grounded and empirically-driven model for conceptualizing the ways that addons extend different expressions of game-based ability.
Abstract » In this paper, we consider the impacts of game addons on conventional notions of game-based expertise in World of Warcraft, through the analysis of 37 travelogues - a data collection tool designed for use in MMOG research. We adopt a multi-faceted definition of gaming expertise as described by Taylor, Jenson, De Castell and Humphrey  and we apply their categorization of expertise modalities to the addons named by our study participants. We find that the most commonly understood expressions of expertise in games (time investment and skill) are less represented in the addons reported by our participants.
hipDisk: Understanding the Value of Ungainly, Embodied, Performative, Fun
Contribution & Benefit: hipDisk is an ungainly musical body extension that prompts awkward engagement to facilitate embodied learning. The research champions process-driven, performative research methodologies, epistemologically different to qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Abstract » hipDisk is a wearable interface that extends the hips and torso horizontally to give the moving body musical capabilities. The device prompts wearers to move in strange ways, bypassing norms of self-constraint, to actuate sound. As the wearer bends and twists their torso, causing the disks to touch, a single tone may be triggered through the integrated speakers. The result is sonically and physically ungainly, yet strangely compelling, and often prompts spontaneous laughter. hipDisk emerged from an embodied, performative research approach. It began as a single user device, and evolved to support social interaction and co-creation, as well as creatively engaged, embodied discovery and learning. The focus in this paper is on the third, participatory, phase of the project, and the value of emergent, performative research.
Exploring Mischief and Mayhem in Social Computing or: How we Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trolls
Contribution & Benefit: Explores the role of mischief in creating humour and novel experiences in social computing systems. Framing mischief as appropriation, we argue for the value in borderline social acceptibility.
Abstract » In this paper, we explore the role of mischief as borderline socially acceptable behaviour within social computing applications. Mischievous activity pushes the boundaries of the implicit social contract present in all online social systems, and, we argue, is of vital importance understanding online social interactions. Using examples from games and other applications, we explore mischief as an act of appropriation, which reinterprets mechanics defined by developers in unexpected and sometimes upsetting ways. Although frequently interpreted as negative and anti-social behaviour, we argue that mischief serves a vital social role, and find surprising richness in the chaos.
Virtual Postcards: Multimodal Stories of Online Play
Contribution & Benefit: This paper documents a multimodal data collection tool developed for research on online videogames. The ‘virtual travelogue’ breaks new methodological ground by letting players share visual archives of their gaming.
Abstract » This paper documents the use of a multimodal data collection tool developed for research on Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). Addressing a central problem of qualitative research on MMOGs - how to document the activities of players’ domestic, everyday/everynight play practices - we describe how the virtual ‘travelogue’ allows participants to share, and annotate, screenshots of their MMOG play. Based on our preliminary analysis of 69 travelogues, we explore how these texts function similar to travel postcards, as generic images of in-game events and environments that are personalized and narrativized through players’ annotations. We also discuss two themes across the travelogues, (in)authenticity and individualization, that illuminate the ways players negotiate the standardizing effect of many MMOG play experiences.
Interaction Design Patterns for Multi-touch Tabletop Collaborative Games
Contribution & Benefit: Describes interaction design patterns on multi-touch tabletops that are observed to be effective in facilitating positive social interaction among children during collaborative game play.
Abstract » Characteristics of multi-touch tabletops, such as a large interactive surface and simultaneous multiple user inputs can be exploited in the design of interactions that facilitate positive social interaction among children during collaborative activities. Designs that facilitate behaviors like positive interdependence, group processing and social skills such as turn taking are discussed. We report qualitative observations regarding the effectiveness of the proposed interaction designs in trials involving two groups of children with contrasting psychological safety levels and formulated several generalizable design patterns that were observed to be effective in soliciting collaborative play on interactive tabletops.