Volume 14(1), 2018-05, 96—134

Engagement by lamination of autopoietic concentric interaction systems in games: A study of football and Pokémon GO

Tore Gulden
Department of Product Design
Faculty of Technology, Art and Design
OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University

The aim of this paper is to rethink games and game design within the theory of self-producing interaction systems. With this research, I seek to identify several dynamics of play and engagement elicited by games that, by extension, can serve as game design parameters. The research is oriented toward an analysis of football (soccer) and Pokémon GO within the context of Niklas Luhmann’s (2002/2012) theoretical framework of autopoiesis (i.e., self-producing interaction systems). The theoretical discussion of play situations in the two games reveals five concentric interaction systems through which games motivate play and engagement. These game dynamics are continuing simultaneous communication, multiple observations, double expectations, system autonomy, and unexpectedness through system coupling. The study further shows that when a game succeeds in eliciting these dimensions, functional, continuous, and changing structures allow for the emergence of numerous behaviors and the production of new interaction systems.

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