HCI+Games=HCI/Ludology right?

So back to the topic of games, I’ve posted a few times on this… but games are important: we spend more money on online games than music.  Gaming is the #1 online activity.

HCI studies technology with very different methodological and philosophical bent than Computer Science or it’s many sister sciences, that of phenomenology.  This embodied approach to computing and it’s concomitant commitment to human-centered design and usability is badly needed in most end-user systems.

Currently game designers and developers tend to be, like CS, in the positivist/reductionist way of thinking.  While this can be helpful we need more than that. It’s also pretty clear to me that many games fail, or are less successful, because of usability issues, and I’m not a huge fan of many of the game UIs out there.  For example: ,I’m an avid gamer, and I was bewildered by the WoW interface when I started playing.  I hate to think of a gamer n00bie trying to grapple with WoW.

The study of games, or Ludology (the fashionable Latinate title it goes by now) is in my mind a subset of HCI.  It seems clear to me that video games are a human-computer interaction.  Do I need to back that up anymore?  If so I need to do some more thinking on that issue.

Building on my post from yesterday I think that philosophy plays a significant role here, and of course both HCI and it’s subsets are still working on a coherent language of description and criticism.

At IU School of Informatics we have HCI/Design and HCI/Security (and HCI/Music?), so I think we ought to think about HCI/Ludology or to be a little more layperson friendly maybe HCI/Games.

There has been talk for years that this could be a possibility, and I want it to happen, we could have another first in the US.  First School of Informatics in the US, first PhD program in Ludology, or at least HCI/Ludology right?

(This is a repost from my own blog, thought I would do something fun that also counts as homework)

The other thing I’ve thought about on this issue is making it a campus-wide initiative or institute, I don’t know how that works, but that would be cool.


  1. Tyler Pace

    There were lots of IGDA folk at DiGRA, including Jason Della Rocca the IGDA Executive Director. It looks like a group worth joining, many of them are truly interested in games research.


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