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Dominant Games

How can video games increase their appeal and intensity through the use of coercion and negative incentives?

Some video games make their players wait, insult them, cheat, physically hurt them or outright refuse to be played. They attempt to control and manipulate their players, to gain power and dominate them. I call them dominant games.

In this paper, I examine the power relationship between game and player to establish properties of dominant games. I analyse game mechanics to deepen the understanding on how dominant games motivate players, intensify the play experience, and increase their attractiveness by using coercion or negative incentives. I apply the findings in two game prototypes I developed in the context of this research, which employ electric shocks, coercion and time mechanics.

Degree project: Stefan Schmidlin
Specialization: MA Game Design, 2018
Mentors: René Bauer, Dr. Mela Kocher

Dominant Games