08:29 AM

Video Game Design: Does it make the Player Happy or Miserable?

Video gaming is a popular form of entertainment, with video gamers collectively spending 3 billion hours per week in front of their screens. Are you amazed at the number of hours spent on video games and wondering how it affects the players’ minds?

Join UST’s “In the Gamer’s Mind” panel at the Houston Tech Rodeo on March 1, 2022, at 11 a.m. to understand how video games shape the player. What lessons can we take from research in this area of game design? To join this session or one of the other five sessions hosted by UST, go to Houston Tech Rodeo to register.

Responsible Design Is Essential

Why is it essential for UST to join in the arena of responsibly designing video games?

This engaging discussion features UST faculty. Moderating the panel is Tom Harmon (Theology), with panelists David Squires (Philosophy), Ivan Irizarry (Clinical Mental Health Counseling), along with Adam Pugen, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and researcher of video gaming.

Pugen will explore the implications of video games and gamification in general by drawing on many concepts from the media theory of the famous Catholic media theorist Marshall McLuhan. He will talk about what it means that video games are a particular form of communications technology (electronic) and what that means as far as the types of effects video games have on us. Since video games are also games, he will talk about the cultural significance of play and how video games can satisfy or not satisfy the traditional, cultural function of play.

How Video Games Play Us

“As we play video games, they also play us,” Harmon said. “Because they act as media, they have perceptual and psychological effects on us. Awareness of that fact and how video games affect the user are the basic conditions of responsibly designing the games. If you couple knowledge of the nature and effects of video games with a knowledge of human nature and what makes us either happy or miserable, that’s a powerful recipe not only for responsible game design but also for games that can be fun.”

UST Addresses All Considerations in Its Cutting-Edge Program

UST is currently looking into developing a video game design minor that would address these critical issues. Any potential video game design program at UST would be grounded in a deep understanding of human nature drawn from the Catholic intellectual tradition; would treat video games as both art forms and media; and would have an awareness that video games should contribute in some way to the flourishing of its users.